It has been a great year for the High Performance Team here at Harris & Ross. Not only was the team established in early January with Doug Jones, Clinical Director, and Darren Roberts, High Performance Manager, at the helm but it was further strengthened by the introduction of Laura Robson, Physiotherapist and Carl ‘Dicko’ Dickson, High Performance Specialist.
Doug Jones explains that “the team was initially set up to deal with the number of extreme sports athletes that were coming to our door based on our reputation in mainstream sports at the professional level, such as Rugby – Sales Sharks, London Wasps, Bath Rugby and England Saxons and Football – Manchester City.” The service, however is not limited to professional athletes and as the number of pros coming to us has increased, so too has the number of “weekend warriors”.
Darren Roberts also adds that “the all-round healthcare provision that we can offer is what really sets Harris & Ross apart from the competition. Athletes can be taken all the way from triage with our Physiotherapy team, through to scans, surgical consultations and surgery, before the rehab and the inevitable return to sport. More over, there is a complete level of empathy between the athletes that come to us and myself and the team that work with them. We are all fans of the sports that these athletes compete in be it Downhill Mountain Biking, Motocross, Snow boarding, Sky Diving, Skiing etc”
2014 started with the great story of Roope Tonteri, a snowboarder from Finland, making it back from a terrible upper arm injury just in time for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Martin Soderstrom, a freestyle mountain biker from Sweden, making use of the facilities and team in Wilmslow to get back to competing in the world circuit.
As the year progressed and the summer sporting calendar began to expand the team started to travel to events around the country and world. With a strong relationship with Dave Thorpe’s Honda Buildbase team, the High Performance team were present at all the rounds of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championships. As word got around the paddock that the experienced team from Harris & Ross were treating more and more riders wanted treatment for existing injuries. So much so that instead of one Physiotherapist, the team were taking two Physiotherapists and a High Performance Specialist to each of the races. While most of the riders being seen had pre existing injuries, Motocross has its risks and as such the team were pushed to deal with a number of more serious acute injuries that would later result in surgery. One in particular was Jake Nicholls who suffered a severe injury to his finger. Had it not been for the quick reaction and management of this injury by the team on site for that race Jake could have lost his finger. Following the initial surgery in the vicinity of the race, Jake was then put into the care of the Hand & Wrist MDT based out of Spire Manchester Hospital and from there was returned to sport by the High Performance Team at Wilmslow.
The round up of the year and in particular, Motocross, cannot go without mentioning James Dunn who came to Manchester for a second opinion on his knee injury. Dunny as he is affectionately known, first came for a second opinion from one of the knee surgeons we work closely with, Phil Turner. Dunny was rushed into an emergency surgery to have a vascular bypass carried out. Following this, Dunny was left with an external fixation on his leg while the bypass was allowed time to heal. This was followed by twelve weeks of rehabilitation before his next surgery to reconstruct the ligaments and repair cartilage damage from the initial injury. We have worked, and continue to do so, so intensively with Dunny as the nature of his injury was extremely serious. Had it been left much longer there is a chance that he could have lost his leg below the knee! Dunny visits us every week for physiotherapy as well as strength & conditioning, with an aim of returning to the bike during the 2015 season.
The team have also worked closely with different teams from Red Bull on various specialist competitions around the world this year. Darren attended a series of Rugby 7’s competitions in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham treating players and teams throughout the day. Doug and Dicko travelled to Liverpool to support the riders at Red Bull Harbour Reach, a wake board competition that is hosted in the famous location of the Albert Dock. The preceding week, Jeremia Hoppe from Sweden had travelled over to work with the team on strengthening his knee following an ACL reconstruction earlier in the year, so that he could compete at Harbour Reach. Dicko also travelled to Sweden to work with the athletes at the Martin Soderstrom Invitational. The MSI is a freestyle mountain bike events that involves jumping a mountain bike 30ft up in the air over a road into the botanical gardens of Uppsala Castle’s grounds. It is a great spectacle to behold and while Martin wasn’t riding due to ongoing injuries that he was working with our team on, Matt Jones had managed to make it back to competing following the wrist surgery that he underwent at Spire Manchester Hospital and the intensive rehab programme that he followed in Wilmslow. With Matt being based in Milton Keynes, this took a lot of time and dedication and travel to get back to competing as soon as he did.
Not all of the year was a positive. Sadly, back in May of 2014, Harris & Ross were notified of the passing of Si Andrews. He spent a lot of time in our clinics, not only working on his own training, but he also proved an inspiration to many of the other athletes who came in to overcome their own injuries. Si was a very determined individual who had all the qualities that make athletes truly great but more importantly, through his time here in the clinic with us, he had become our friend and we will continue to be greatly missed by all those that met him.
Laura, who was introduced to the company by Si Andrews while she was working at the British Super Bikes, has started her time with the company with a bang, travelling to all of the Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup races as a part of the Atherton Racing. This would see her travel for week long periods to locations such as Meribel France, Windham USA, Mont Saint Anne Canada just to mention a few. The team as a whole had a tough year with injuries and illness but with Laura’s support they pulled through and produced some good results with Gee Atherton standing 3rd on the World Cup Podium and sister Rachel in 2nd. Laura also accompanied the team to Hafjell Norway to support them through their assault on the World Championship. Rachel came away with 2nd place but Gee managed to take the Championship and with it, the rainbow stripes for 2014.
Coming in a very close second to Gee at the World Championships was Josh Bryceland from the Santa Cruz Syndicate team. Josh over shot the final jump and sustained a serious mid foot fracture. Having had surgery in Norway and flying home Josh came for assessment with Doug at Spire Manchester Hospital. This then led to consultation with Mr Rob Smith. Following these consultations and imaging a plan was laid out to manage Josh’s rehabilitation. To complicate matters, it was now Josh’s off season and he was facing twelve weeks of non-weight baring on his injured foot. During this time Josh was in the gym 3 times a week in order to prevent too much loss of fitness and strength, not only in the injured leg but in the rest of his body. Just before Christmas Josh had the metal work removed and is well underway with making a return to the bike. The progress he makes and continues to make is a credit to the hard work that he is dedication with which he approaches every session that is thrown at him.
As the year started with snow athletes, it has finished with snow athletes as well. In the last few months of the year we have had visits from Paddy Graham, Team GB Olympians Billy Morgan and Katie Summerhayes for ongoing maintenance as well as a more long term rehab for Team GB athlete Katie Ormerod. KatieO has been with the team recovering from an ACL reconstruction in the later half of the year. Having KatieO in the clinic and gym is a huge pleasure. The un-assuming 17 year old regularly puts all of our hardy Motocross athletes in their place through a gym session and will quite happily hold her own in training with much more experienced athletes. For those that don’t know, KatieO is one to watch in the future. Not only was she the first woman in the world to throw the elusive “Double Cork 1080” she is still the only woman in the world to have managed this trick.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of events or athletes that the team has attended but is a short insight into the sort of work that one branch of the Harris & Ross team has been tackling. It has been a big start for this brand new service and we are looking forwards to seeing what they can achieve through 2015.
If you have any existing injuries that need assessment and treatment or simply want to get fit for the upcoming sporting seasons, you can contact our teams on 0161 832 9000.