The World Transplant Games were founded in 1978 by consultant surgeon Maurice Slapack, he brought together his patients and other transplant recipients to hold the first transplant games in Portsmouth.
The aim of these games was to promote the benefits of organ transplantation and provide opportunities for transplantees to demonstrate their strong and healthy physical capabilities. Initially, in 1978 there were 99 athletes, all being kidney recipients from the UK, USA and France. Since this, the World transplant games have grown, being held bi-annually the games now host amateur athletes from 69 countries at this mulit-sport event.
Within the UK Transplant Sport has become the largest British national charity to promote activity post-transplant and the organ donor register, hosting the British transplant games held every year.
The games were created to encourage all transplant recipients regardless of ability to get active and be healthy whilst also promoting organ donation. Athletes come together and compete for the love of the sport and to meet with other transplant recipients, they can compete in five events within the following sports; archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, cycling, darts, football, golf, petanque, road race, squash, swimming, table tennis, tennis, ten pin bowling, virtual triathlon and volleyball.
Who am I?
Being a Sports Therapist, I am part of the medical provision for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland team. The Transplant Games were introduced to me five years ago during my second year of undergraduate study. From here I have volunteered as a Sports Therapist at 2 World Games, 1 European Games and 3 British Games. Every one of our athletes has undergone a life-saving transplant and through determination and hard work has battled to be selected and compete at this high international level.
My role as a Sports Therapist is to support the athletes throughout the games by preparing them for competition and helping to minimise injury risk.
For the games this year I will be one of the 12 strong team from Coventry University, made up of 7 students, 3 lecturers and 2 alumni to be working with the GB&NI team alongside lead physio Alison Bloxham.
The athletes get no financial support for the games, and like them we have to raise our own funds. I am looking at raising £1000 in order for me to fully support our athletes at the next World Transplant Games in Newcastle. To support this I am organising a Sport Therapy taster evening with local running clubs in which Runr has kindly provided raffle prizes and am taking on the Lakesman Half Triathlon (1/2 ironman).
During fundraising it is important to raise awareness of organ donation and the transplant games, being able to support these athletes is an experience in itself and we are able to support the athletes throughout their training and performance.
This year sees Newport hosting the British Transplant Games (25th – 28th July) and Newcastle hosting the World Transplant Games (17th – 24th August)
If you would like more information about the World Transplant Games in Newcastle, please visit http://worldtransplantgames.org/.
For information on Transplant Sport UK visit www.transplantsport.org.uk and our Just giving information is here - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louise-anderson-sport-therapy
Photos with thanks to Phil Horan