How Rory McIlroy and Mary Peters are helping get injured young stars back on track

Date Posted: December 1st 2017

Rory McIlroy knows a thing or two about injuries after three seasons disrupted, at one stage or another, by strains and sprains.
Now as he prepares for a return to top level tournament golf in January, Rory has been quietly helping young athletes in his native Northern Ireland to recover from their own injury woes.
Through his Rory Foundation and the Mary Peters Trust, the four-times major winner has been arranging fast track access to diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, enabling injury-hit young sportsmen and women to get back to competitive action as soon as possible.
Their joint Athlete Diagnosis Clinic in conjunction with the Ulster Independent Clinic in Belfast, has helped young stars from a variety of sports, including boxing, fencing, squash, tennis and athletics, get back to their sports quickly.
One of those is wheelchair racer Jack Agnew, a World Junior Championship gold medalist, who experienced knee pain as he was preparing for the tournament and approached the Trust, set up by Munich 1972 Olympic Pentathlon gold medal winner Dame Mary, for assistance, who in turn sent him to the Ulster Clinic.
Within a week he'd been given an MRI scan and underwent an operation on his knee which enabled him to return to training and continue his preparation for that highly successful world event
Had his diagnosis been delayed by even another week, he wouldn't have been able to compete and achieve his International Classification for 2018, which would have ruled him out of the Commonwealth Games.
"This clinic was so important for me," Agnew explained. "If I'd missed the Championships, it would have meant two years of training was a waste of time. All those hard sessions, the sacrifices I've made to make the team would have counted for nothing. It would have been a major setback to my development.
"I can't thank the Mary Peters Trust or the Rory Foundation enough, especially as I came home with a batch of championship medals. Without their help I wouldn't have made it. I'm thrilled with the outcome."
The venture is one of many aiding young sportsmen and women in terms of cash development grants from the Trust and the enhancement of young lives in general by the Rory Foundation.
Eilish Rutherford, chair of the Mary Peters Trust, said: "We at the Trust are delighted with the success of the clinic over the last year. As we've seen with Jack, the quick diagnosis sped up his recovery and got him back to his winning ways.
"We are grateful to the Rory Foundation for their support and to the team at the Ulster Independent Clinic for providing this service.
"Athletes never want to get injured and unfortunately, it's not something we can prevent but a quicker diagnosis means a quicker solution and therefore the athletes are returning to competition and bringing back medals and good news to Northern Ireland."
Trustee of the Rory Foundation, Dr Andrew Crone, added: "It's been great to have such a clinic in place for these young athletes. It's fantastic to see the results working so quickly and effectively over the last year, proving it's been very worthwhile. It came to my attention that we needed a facility like this when Rory injured his ankle back in 2015. He got rapid access to medical and surgical specialists in such a short period of time. This enabled him to get a diagnosis and the best possible management plan within a couple of days of his injury.
"It made me aware of the fact that injuries can be so costly for athletes, especially ones at the top of their sport. This prompted us to seek a means to how we could organise such a referral system. With the help of the Mary Peters Trust and the Ulster Independent Clinic, this became a reality.
"For young aspiring sportsmen and women to have access to such specialist medical care within a few days of injury gives them the opportunity to a speedy return to their sport.
"The Rory Foundation stands for helping children and young people live better lives and I'm delighted we can work in partnership with the Mary Peters Trust to fulfil that."