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Blog: Paralympic Gold Medalist Studies Sports Massage at St Mary's

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Following winning Britain's first Winter Paralympic gold medal during Sochi 2014, Northern Irish alpine ski racer Kelly Gallagher MBE has turned her attention to Sports Massage at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. “I have devoted years of my life to ski training. I want to continue to explore different careers, beyond skiing,” said Kelly who is visually impaired with oculocutaneous albinism, which is an inherited condition that affects the pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Taking six weeks out of training in Austria this summer, Kelly has completed the Intensive Level 4 Certificate in Sports Massage (ITEC), funded, partly by UK Sport’s Personal Development Award. The course offered a stark contrast to training on the slopes, posing a different kind of challenge. “I usually spend my time training, resting and training and resting, with my guide. The intensive course has required a different type of discipline, rather than focusing upon my strength and fitness, I have had the opportunity to learn a new skill and refine my knowledge.” Kelly was inspired to gain the accredited qualification after coming across a variety of different injuries, aches and pains throughout her career whilst training and competing, “I decided to take the plunge back into academia to refocus my mind, regain my confidence and give my brain a challenge. It is also really exceptionally relevant as I now know more about my body, and how I can train and treat it. Whilst on the course I have studied advanced techniques, tools and skills about how to assess and treat common patterns of dysfunction and suitable pre-diagnosed injuries.” Looking to the future Kelly hopes to pair her experience in competition with her qualification to help other athletes with their sporting injuries and niggles. If you, like Kelly, would like to gain the sports massage qualification to develop your knowledge of sporting performance, or refine your career, find out more information and enrol on the sports massage course here.
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