The Mary Peters Trust held a special event in Riddel Hall, Belfast where they awarded sports bursaries to aspiring athletes. From today, in the event of an injury, the Trust will select and send the athlete to the Ulster Independent Clinic for diagnosis which will be funded by the Rory Foundation.
We at the Trust are delighted with this new branch of support we can now offer. This will make a huge difference to our athletes. As a physiotherapist for over 30 years and working with athletes at four Commonwealth Games I have been part of the treatment team and have seen first-hand the effects of injury. I know both the physical and mental stress an acute injury can have on athletes. I also know that a quick diagnosis can speed recovery and this in turn means less impact on the sporting life of the athlete. Athletes can lose funding, confidence and ability through injury. I want to thank Mr Barry Funston, CEO of the Rory Foundation and Dr Andrew Crone, Trustee of the Rory Foundation and the team at Ulster Independent Clinic for providing this support. A quicker diagnosis means a quicker solution and therefore the athletes are returning competing and bringing back medals and good news to Northern Ireland – Eilish Rutherford, Chairman of the Mary Peters Trust
County Down runners Paul Pollock and Kerry O’Flaherty were both present on the night to tell of their Olympic experiences in Rio, being fulltime athletes and their experiences of injury. They were interviewed by Jim Gracey, Group Sports Editor of the Belfast Telegraph. Dr Andrew Crone, Trustee of the Rory Foundation announced the new support available for athletes and while addressing the audience, told the story of how Rory McIlroy injured himself the week before The Open in 2015.
The Rory Foundation got involved with the Mary Peters Trust not only because of the great work that they do but also because of what the Rory Foundation stands for – helping children and young people live better lives. Working in surgery, I see patients with all sorts of injuries. When Rory injured his ankle before The Open in 2015, the reality of injuries was so close to home. It really made us more aware of the fact that athletes get injured all the time and are forced to withdraw from their game, whether it’s long-term or short-term. I am delighted that the Rory Foundation has teamed up with the Mary Peters Trust to provide this support to aspiring athletes so they can fully recover and get back to the top of their game as quickly as possible – Dr Andrew Crone, Trustee of the Rory Foundation
One of the awardees of the sporting bursaries included 15 year old Charlotte Slater from Lisburn. Charlotte’s sport is fencing and she is taking part in the European Cadet Tournament in Copenhagen in December. She said;
“Thanks to the Mary Peters Trust, I’m able to do what I love and it’s great to have the support of the Rory Foundation now too. Although, hopefully I’ll never get injured and need that support.”
Charlotte is the best young Epeeist in both Ireland and Northern Ireland. She has won at both the Senior Irish National Championships and the NI Open. Also present at the event last night included swimming sisters Emma Reid (17) and Rebecca Reid (14). Emma and Rebecca are both taking part in the World Championships in Hungary in July 2017. Emma, a finalist at the Commonwealth Youth Games, is on Swim Ireland’s Emerging Talent Squad. She is currently Ulster and Irish Senior Champion and 50 metres and 100 metres butterfly. Rebecca is Irish Age Group Champion, Irish Open Long Course Finalist and Ulster Age Group Champion – she has six gold medals.