Olympic Rings

Recovering from injury the Olympian way – rehabilitations to inspire you

luke denham sports therapist

Luke Denham
Clinic Lead Practitioner, Sports Therapist

The Olympics – widely considered the greatest sporting event across the globe, with inspirational athletes wishing to be crowned as the best of the best in their discipline. Competing athletes spend their whole lives hoping for a shot at Olympic gold, working tirelessly to perfect every aspect of their performance. There are many hurdles to overcome, and just like the rest of us, one of the biggest challenges they may face is injury.

With the 2024 Paris Olympics upon us, we at the Rehab Hub are drawing inspiration from two athletes who have faced adversity in the run up to the Games, to understand how they have coped with the difficulties an injury has thrown their way, and we look at the parallels between their rehabilitations and what we see every day here in clinic.

Our two athletes are Anna Toman, a GB hockey player, and Australian eventer, Shane Rose. Both of their stories are unique and inspiring, and we will take a brief look into the challenges they have faced and how they never gave up on their dreams to return to the highest level.

Anna Toman

Anna suffered a serious injury to her knee in 2023, ruling her out for eight months and putting her Olympic dream in doubt. Though with hard work, determination, and pure gumption, she was selected for the Paris ‘24 squad, she is now in the final stages of preparation for the Olympic games.

“The injury at the time was really quite a shock, I didn’t feel anything – I wasn’t in pain – but it turned out I needed an operation straight away.”

We associate major injuries with lots of pain and a great deal of stress, however Anna’s above quote shows how an injury can catch us off-guard, and whilst may not seem overly traumatic at the time, can halt us in our tracks. Personally, I think this might cause slightly more distress than the immediate onset of pain. With immediate pain you can begin to process the possibility that you might be out with injury for a while. Where in Anna’s situation, she didn’t even think she had done anything, yet still required time away from her sport. Her recovery was no picnic, she reported that “It was a really gruelling rehab”, but through her hard work and dedication, she was able to work her way back to fitness.

“I wondered whether I’d ever be able to get back to the level I was at. It really played on my mind during rehab but I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. The team was really patient with me and I think I coped pretty well.”

Her journey didn’t come without some worry and anxiety – despite being an Olympian, Anna was very open and honest about her struggles. For me this highlights the importance of proper recovery and leaning on those around you for support. She went on to say “I’ve got the most amazing team behind me to help me through it.”

Anna has been selected as part of team GB who will go on to compete at the Paris Olympic games, demonstrating that with hard work, goal setting and the right support, you can get yourself back to the very best you!

Shane Rose

Another great example is Australian eventer, Shane Rose, who was thrown from his horse in March 2024, leaving him with 18 broken bones and zero memory of the incident. He underwent multiple surgeries and even had to learn to walk again. Fast forward 4 months and he is the final stages of preparation for the Paris Olympics.

Immediately after the injury Shane was very open about his desire to be ready for the Olympics – “My wife played a little clip of when I was on the ground and unconscious, not knowing what I was doing, and my first question was; ‘how long have I got to go to the (Olympic) Games?’”. Despite a truly horrendous incident, Shane’s mental resilience provides true inspiration to those struggling with an injury and wondering if they’ll recover in time for a goal, or at all.

Shane’s recovery journey was progressive and intense – he threw himself into his rehab, adhering to every bit of advice and pushing his limits. All of this was done with one thing on his mind – a shot at Olympic gold. After a short time, Shane was back in the saddle; “I didn’t feel nervous at all about getting back on. But I didn’t tell anyone how sore it was. Fortunately, within a few minutes (the pain) really eased off and it felt quite good”.

Over the past few months he has gone from strength to strength, working very hard to get back to the level he was at. He has had a lot of input from healthcare professionals, but his personal grit and determination has pushed him on and on. Shane has worked hard to keep his spot in the Olympic team and is looking forward to competing for a shot at a medal. His mindset and approach to this injury is an example we can all live by, when faced with the greatest of adversities, he has defied the odds and got himself back.

Anna and Shane are perfect examples of how even at the highest of levels, injuries can strike us when we least expect it. They can be hugely detrimental to both our physical and mental health, but with the right mindset and support from those around us, truly anything is possible!

How we can help

We as an injury clinic have a great deal of experience when it comes to dealing with and managing pain and injuries. All of us at the Hub have our very own personal experience of injury, whether it be a knee ACL injury, a chronic hip condition, a spinal fracture, or an AC joint sprain to name a few amongst the team. This experience helps us to empathise with you.

We use in-depth and comprehensive testing to fully assess your pain, understand where it is coming from and provide appropriate treatment and suitable rehabilitation exercises. We will support you every step of the way and are on hand via phone and email to help answer questions to help guide you through what can truly be a difficult time.

Injuries affect us all (unless you are unbelievably lucky), and when they strike it is important to source the right input. They can be challenging to process, and the recovery process is full of highs and lows. As we have seen from the profiles above, injuries do not mean the end, in fact sometimes they can be quite the opposite, there is a great deal to learn from an injury, and you can absolutely come out stronger on the other side.

If you are struggling, or need any support with an injury or pain, please get in touch and let us help you in any way that we can.