Danielle Turnbull, level 5 student on the BSc (Hons) Sports and Exercise Therapy course, has recently returned from Kazakhstan, representing GB Ice Hockey at Winter Universiade 2017; a multi-sport winter event which took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, in January and February 2017.
Reflecting on her experience of the competition, Danielle said: “In January 2017, I travelled to Kazakhstan to represent Great Britain’s Ice Hockey team in the 28th Universiade Games. The games involved a variety of winter sports, ranging from curling to moguls to skiing and, of course, ice hockey.
“Throughout the tournament, we competed against teams such as Canada, Japan, China and the Universiade hosts, Kazakhstan. Although we finished in seventh, having the opportunity to play against national teams of such high standards was an amazing experience.
“The Winter Universiade Games was one of the biggest events Kazakhstan had hosted to date, and they didn’t disappoint. The locals were very enthusiastic about the games and everywhere we went we were treated like celebrities, whether it was a police escort or selfies. The opening ceremony was a fitting spectacle, filled with figure skaters, camels and big appreciation of our GB Trespass jackets from the other countries, which marked the beginning of an incredible two-week journey.
“This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is one of the best experiences of my life and provided me with the chance to witness first-hand the expectations of a sports therapist within a dynamic team setting. Throughout the tournament, the squad faced numerous set-backs regarding injuries; including groin strains, labral tears, tight hip flexors and plenty of contusions.
“After playing in such mentally and physically demanding games, we were given some key advice by our sports therapist to help aid recovery. Firstly, sleep is key, in order to psychologically and physiologically prepare ourselves for the next day. Another key part of recovery, was ice - ice everything. Luckily there was plenty around! Ice was used immediately after any game in order to reduce swelling and minimise bruising.
“The athletes’ village was fully equipped to meet the needs of all athletes, and I was a frequent user of the swimming pool and sauna, to help assist with muscle repair and relaxation.
“During our preparation for the highly anticipated first game against hosts Kazakhstan, which accumulated a crowd of 3000, we each had to undergo a SCAT test and inform the therapists of any current injuries. It was interesting to see that even before concussion, players had a poor short term memory or a lack of balance, highlighting the need for SCAT tests to be performed.