The 'Physios supporting athletes across all abilities' programme aims specifically to equip physiotherapy students and graduates with the knowledge and skills needed for disabled and able-bodied sport, enabling them to better support athletes in their training for the 2012 Games.
The programme has been officially recognised by the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Developed by Dr Nicola Phillips and Tony Everett of the University’s School of Healthcare Studies the programme is an all-Wales initiative that gives participants the chance to feed into a world-class volunteer support service provision for all international teams based in Wales prior to the 2012 Games in London.
As well as supporting Olympic and Paralympic athletes, the programme has benefits that extend well beyond 2012. More disabled athletes in Wales will be helped in the long-term thanks to the scheme and many of the physiotherapists involved in the project will take the knowledge and skills gained back into their NHS workplace, where they will be able to enhance patient care.
As a result of its lasting impact the programme has been awarded a London 2012 Inspire Mark by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) – the first sports-related project to receive the award in Wales. The Inspire Mark acknowledges innovative initiatives that have been inspired by the Olympic ideals and will provide a legacy for the regions where they are based.
Speaking about the project, Dr Phillips said: "We are very proud to have been awarded the Inspire Mark and excited about providing more physiotherapists with the skills to work in this area. We are looking forward to playing our part in welcoming the paralympic teams already committed to a Welsh base prior to London 2012, but equally as pleased to be encouraging and supporting participation in sport at all levels of ability within Wales."
'Physios supporting athletes across all abilities' is the result of a collaboration between the University, Disability Sport Wales, Sports Council for Wales High Performance Unit and the Welsh Assembly Government Major Events Unit. Additional funding has also been provided by the Assembly.