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Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

News and events

Fantastic and productive time during Rob Shaw’s visit from Canada

8 November 2017

Last week, the Peter Harrison Centre (PHC) welcomed Rob Shaw, PhD student and the highest ranked wheelchair tennis player in Canada. Rob visited from the University of British Columbia, where he works with Kathleen Martin Ginis, one of Loughborough’s Visiting Professors within the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (SSEHS). The purpose of Rob’s visit was to share knowledge and explore future collaborations with the PHC.

Rob spent four days in Loughborough where he had chance to meet and spend time with PHC members and students. One of the highlights of Rob’s visit was attending the presentation by Craig Ranson on ‘Athlete Health within the English Institute of Sport (EIS)’, which was organised by the SSEHS Sport Performance Research Theme (led by Vicky Tolfrey). This was followed by discussions around shoulder health/pain with both EIS and PHC members, which included Tom Paulson, Rebecca Joyce, Anthony Papathomas, Barry Mason, Vicky Tolfrey, Rob Townsend and Simon Briley. Rob’s expertise on peer mentoring as well as his experiences as a manual wheelchair user and athlete were considerably valued by the other researchers and sport performance staff who attended.

Vicky: “It was fantastic to further build the longstanding relationship between the EIS and the PHC through the engagement of Rob in discussions about athlete peer mentoring and shoulder pain in wheelchair athletes. It was also the first joint venture since the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between EIS and the PHC had been renewed. As such, it was great to start and continue this valued collaboration by including our overseas networks.”

Rob was also able to take a trip to Stoke Mandeville’s Spinal Injury Unit, internationally renowned for its focus on sport and physical activity as part of rehabilitation, alongside PHC member Jan van der Scheer. Rob, Jan and the Rehabilitation Professionals at Stoke Mandeville enjoyed sharing views and information about the newly developed Exercise Guidelines as well as on peer mentoring in Canada and the UK.

Jan: “Rob and I would like to thank Dot Tussler and her team at Stoke Mandeville for a fantastic visit. For me personally, it is very inspiring to learn more about the specific views of the professionals at Stoke Mandeville and learn more of Rob’s views as a researcher, wheelchair athlete and person who has rehabilitated in a spinal injury unit himself.”

Rob was not only able to contribute to the aforementioned discussion but he also contributed significantly to the “Coaching in Disability Sport: Future Directions” workshop organised by Vicky Tolfrey and PHC member Rob Townsend. Attendees included UK Sport, EIS, English Federation of Disability Sport, CP Sport and Loughborough’s Sports Development Centre (SDC).

Rob commenting on his Visit: "Visiting Loughborough University provided me with a unique opportunity to learn about the amazing research being performed related to para sport. The PHC completely shattered all of my expectations. The facilities are like nothing I've seen before and the culture that has been developed is infectious. Vicky and her colleagues are doing top level research and the results are having a direct impact on the performance of athletes in the UK."

Many thanks to all involved for such productive and inspiring times; here at the PHC we look forward to continue and follow up the most fruitful exchange of last week. Rob’s visit was made possible by the financial support of the Peter Harrison Foundation and the Loughborough’s Institute of Advanced Sciences (http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/ias/).

For anyone interested in a more detailed overview of Rob’s visit, have a look at the PHC Twitter feed of last week @PHC_Lboro, and keep your eyes open for our Winter Newsletter released early in 2018!