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Physios acknowledged in New Year honours

3 January 2013 - 12:31pm

New Year honours were awarded to a physio working with Premier League champions and a paediatric physio pioneer.

Grant Downie chats to a young player

Photo: Grant Downie chats to a young player

Grant Downie, head of sports medicine at Manchester City’s academy, received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in recognition of his services to physiotherapy in sport and to young people.

Mr Downie, who has worked as a physio in professional football for 25 years, joined City from Middlesbrough in September 2011. Describing himself as a ‘proud Scot who was born in England’, Mr Downie, 50, cut his teeth in the world of professional football in Glasgow. As Rangers’ head physio, he worked alongside managers Walter Smith and Dick Advocaat.

Receiving the OBE was a ‘touching and humbling’ experience, he notes. ‘I am very proud to be a chartered physiotherapist. We come into this job to care and we must never forget our duty of care.’

Focus on youth development

Mr Downie says he took a deliberate career-shift by joining City’s academy, where he focuses on the younger players. ‘My aim is to help them develop both medically and as people.'

Before moving into professional sport, Mr Downie spent three years on rotation at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and recommends that young physios who aim to work in professional sport first obtain some NHS experience. ‘I loved every minute of working in the NHS. We are only as good as those working around us.’

MBE for paediatric physio

File 112546A paediatric physiotherapist was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year honours list in recognition of her innovative work with children with disabilities.

Elaine Owen, superintendent and clinical specialist physiotherapist at the child development centre in Bangor, north Wales, was recognised for delivering a pioneering service in the field for more than four decades.

Ms Owen developed a biomechanical approach to rehabilitation that has received international acclaim. The technique, which uses biomechanics to influence neurology, muscle and bones, is applicable to rehabilitation strategies in neurology, orthopaedics and other fields.

Ms Owen told Frontline her MBE was a tribute to her paediatric physiotherapy team, both past and present, and to the tenacity of all those who dedicate their careers to working with children and adults with congenital disabilities.

‘I feel proud on behalf of those who have believed in our work and supported us clinically, emotionally and with funding – without which we would not have been able to achieve all we have,’ she added.

Ms Owen received a Recognising Achievement Award from the National Assembly for Wales in 2011. She was awarded the George Murdoch Prize by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics UK in 2008 for a paper titled ‘The importance of being earnest about shank and thigh kinematics especially when using AFOs’.

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