Dominic has extensive experience in gymnastics and is one of the most experienced and respected physiotherapists in this field. He has accompanied the Great Britain Team as their physiotherapist at seven Worlds and six European Championships. He has also been Host Nation physiotherapist at two World and two European Championships and he recently attended the World Championships in Rotterdam in October 2010 at the request of the Netherlands Gymnastics Federation to assist in the delivery of their Host Nation services. This prompted more than a few “You are not Dutch!” comments from the many gymnasts from across the world who recognise Dominic from his work with the great Britain team over many years.
“Being the team physiotherapist gives you a unique insight into the day to day lives of the athletes, spending most of the day with them during the competition period. You can become as much a counsellor as a physiotherapist, giving athletes the chance to talk about their pre-event nerves, the fact that they may be missing home or loved ones as well as their concerns regarding their injuries.”
“This is a typical scenario on a training day at The European Championships in Volos (Greece) in 2006. The guy with the “guns” on the receiving end of treatment is Ross Brewer, a stalwart of many GB teams over the years and a multiple British and Commonwealth Champion. This picture was taken by a photographer from a major newspaper looking for a different angle in a story to run about the Championships. He was kind enough to send this to me after the event”
This picture illustrates the other side of the Team physio role. The gymnast here is Adam Cox who has sadly just fallen during his HighBar routine at the European Championships in Slovenia, ruining his (quite realistic) chances of making the final and winning a medal. With the coach helping the next competitor to prepare, it is left to me to pick up the upset gymnast and explain that this is also team event and that he has three more pieces of apparatus to complete and five teammates who are relying on him to put in decent scores. This is one of the unique aspects of Gymnastics competition; that it is a Team event but with chances for Individual achievement.
The image below probably best illustrates how most of the time is spent at major Championships – sitting around hoping that something won’t happen but ready to help if it does! Fortunately, although the days can be long, the company is often good. The gentleman to Dominic’s left is John Aldridge, a consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, who was the driving force behind getting proper medical support for gymnastics in Great Britain and who has been an ever present at Olympic, Commonwealth and World Championships since the 1980’s.