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Physiotherapist Gabby keeps GB ice hockey teams in top shape

Gabby McGraw with colleagues

In April, Gabby McGraw will go out to the World Championships at Székesfehérvár in Hungary with reigning gold medallists – the GB U18s team. She offers pre-fitness tests to the 22 players and once in Hungry will offer therapy to those carrying injuries.

Gabby, a Specialist MSK Physiotherapist at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), travels with Great Britain (GB) ice hockey teams up to twice a year, as far afield as South Korea.

Gabby went on her first international trip with Team GB in April 2015 as a substitute for a physiotherapist who fractured his hip. She has since been to seven world championships and most recently supported the GB U20’s in Estonia where they won a bronze medal for their performance.

Gabby, of Lancaster, said: “It’s always an honour to travel with a Great Britain team. Our most recent trip was to Estonia where we finished third in the division. It is always hard work but rewarding.

“We picked up a couple of injuries in the pre-tournament training camp but were able to manage them well enough to get everyone on the ice for the tournament. The most common thing we tend to see is either lower back pain due to the position of play or shoulder injuries from contact.”

Gabby, who started her career at UHMBT in 2018, added: “We do off-ice mobility and rehabilitation work to keep the players in peak condition between games. A lot of it is nutrition and rest; we keep to a tight schedule to ensure the players are on top form for each game.

“A lot of what I have learned working with international level athletes translates into every day work. I’ve become a lot more functional as a therapist promoting self-management and ownership where possible. I’ve learned to listen to the goals of the individual patient, making their rehab enjoyable, based on what they want to achieve.”

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