Helen told me what it was like growing up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and then moving to Bristol (UK) to study Physiotherapy. This was in the Apartheid era and Helen explains her thoughts on this and how it impacted her. After raising three children back in Zimbabwe, Helen became a full-time physio building a busy private clinic as well as working at provincial and national levels with many different sports including Rugby, Cricket, Hockey, Athletics, Surf Lifesaving, and more. Helen was the first physiotherapist to work for the South African national rugby team after the release of Mandela.
Having a female physio working in this environment was highly controversial, resulting in Helen being the subject of National and International press coverage (which Helen shares showing collages of caricatures and photos of her from the press). After 5 year’s full time with the Stormers Rugby team, Helen was approached to be a Medical Advisor to Insurers in London for the Premier League Football teams, England cricket, and many elite sports. She explains that she had to win the trust of the Club medical personnel and the Insurers for the first couple of years, but has now been working with them for 13 years and is thoroughly enjoying it! Helen has just completed her PhD and is an avid presenter and researcher.
She received an Honorary Award from the Sports Physiotherapy Group of SA for “Achievement and Dedication to Sports Physiotherapy at the Highest Level” in 2018 and a Merit Award for “invaluable contribution to South African Sports Medicine in South Africa” in 2019.
I worked with Helen for 6 years and it is amazing to see her enthusiasm has not diminished to this day!