Health and legal professionals gathered in Nottingham to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of people who have overcome significant injury and to learn about cutting edge research and developments in the rehabilitation sector.
The ‘Back in the Game’ conference, hosted by the UK’s largest provider of expert witness, assessment and case management services Bush & Company, was held at the Nottingham Belfry Hotel on 6 July, showcasing speakers from the world of sport, prosthetics and law.
Helen Jackson, Managing Director at Bush & Company, explained: “This was a unique opportunity to improve services through knowledge sharing and networking, with so many health and legal professionals all under one roof.”
The delegates heard from a range of professionals who established some key learnings from the day including the environmental, social and psychological impact of rehabilitation.
Consultant Psychologist, Jonathan Katz, spoke about regaining a sense of self through para-sport, whilst balancing this with the need to ensure a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not assumed. He said: “Though para-sport can provide a focus and purpose, not all people with a disability are looking to become elite athletes and can feel inadequate if these opportunities are pushed, especially if prematurely, as part of their rehabilitation. Some people just want to be able to undertake activities of normal life, such as taking their children to school – that is what helps them to rebuild their self-esteem.”
Offering a parent’s perspective, Claire Wood spoke about embarking on a legal process, following her son’s diagnosis of Athetoid Cerebral Palsy after a traumatic birth. Claire said:
“The outcome is life-changing but the process can be traumatic for families. We are grateful we had a good team around us and I cannot stress enough that attitude of the solicitors, experts and case managers towards the family supporting the child is very important, as well as acknowledging the impact of ‘deficit model’ language used in report writing, on the family and the whole network around the child.”
A highlight of the day was hearing from Matt ‘Hambo’ Hampson, a former English rugby union prop who became a C4/5 tetraplegic after a scrummaging practice accident in 2005. He shared his inspirational, rehabilitation journey and talked about the Matt Hampson Foundation. Matt said: “I stopped thinking ‘why me’ and instead, ‘why not me’. The Foundation encourages people who have been seriously injured through sport to focus on what they can do and not what they can’t.”
The day concluded with a medico-legal debate on the impact of technological advances, demonstrating how these developments in technology might influence their approach to a claim.