A UNIVERSITY lecturer is gearing up to use her physiotherapy skills to help the world’s top athletes at next year’s London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Julie Sparrow will play a key role in the 2012 Games – her third Olympic experience as a physiotherapist.
The 57-year-old, who lives in Wolviston, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, has also tended to athletes during four Commonwealth Games.
Julie, has worked as a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at Teesside University since 2001.
At the Olympic and Paralympic Games, she will be part of an elite team of physiotherapy trouble-shooters, ready to respond across the Olympic venues to ensure the physiotherapy needs of international athletes are met.
More than 750 physiotherapists are expected to be volunteering their services to help the London Organising Committee of the Olympics Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) deliver the best service to the world’s best athletes.
Julie will be based in London for a seven-week period, covering the run up to the Olympics and the conclusion of the Paralympics.
She said: “I remember very clearly the day London was announced for 2012.
“I was watching it on my computer at the university and ran around the landing so excited.
“I think it’s going to be absolutely fabulous.
“I’ve spoken to cabbies in the capital and they’re really looking forward to it, they’re very proud of their city.
“If you are behind the scenes, what you get to view is even more special.”
Former PE teacher Julie previously worked as an HQ physiotherapist with Team GB at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, taking secondments from her previous role with South Tees NHS Trust.
In Atlanta she was based with the diving and fencing teams and was with the rowers in Sydney, where she saw Sir Steve Redgrave clinch his fifth Olympic rowing gold.
She said: “That was such an amazing day.
“I was on the waterside working with the rowing team and I was able to watch them come off the water after the victory.
“They were away from the crowds and cameras, carrying their boat with medals hanging proudly from their necks.
“That was a privileged position to be in, and so emotional.”
Julie has also worked at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Manchester in 2002, Melbourne in 2006 and Delhi last year.
She is delighted some of her former students will also be working as physiotherapists at London 2012.