Wrexham Olympic rowing hero Tom James has pays tribute to his Mum

Olympic hero Tom James has paid tribute to his mum for the pivotal role she played in helping him to win two gold medals.

Luckily for him his mother, Julia James, is a top physiotherapist who provided professional as well as personal support while he recovered from injuries and surgery during his distinguished career.

During his latest visit home, Tom popped in to see her at work at the Spire Yale Consulting Rooms in Abergele which is a satellite to the private Spire Yale Hospital in Wrexham.

Tom, 29, who grew up in Coedpoeth, near Wrexham, and began rowing as a pupil at Chester’s King’s School. He struck gold for Britain in the coxless fours at both the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games.

He said: “As an athlete you are always going to suffer injuries and you have to know how to deal with them. I suffered quite a few serious injuries and always sought mum’s expert advice so I could recover as quickly as possible.

“Mum has without doubt been a massive help to me when it comes to the treatment of injuries.

“It’s vital you trust the judgement of both your surgeon and physiotherapist. And when it comes to mum, I trust her implicitly although I’m sure she will say I’m by no means the easiest of patients to deal with!”

Tom, who represented Cambridge as part of their Boat Race crew four times as well as winning won gold medals as part of the GB coxless fours in the 2011 World Rowing Championships and the Rowing World Cup, added: “Throughout my international rowing career I did suffer several bad injuries and had to undergo surgery on a number of occasions.

“I had surgery on a tear in my hip, a knee injury as well as on my wrist and back. The back injury was perhaps the worst as we really didn’t know what the problem was. However, it caused me to miss almost a year and stay out of the boat prior to Beijing, which was difficult.

“Initially we thought it was a rib stress fracture as my side was very tight and sore. However, it turned out it was an old hip injury that manifested itself in my back.

“It turned out I had an old back injury that was made worse because of the hip injury.

“Mum was very much part of the team that got me back in the boat. I had surgery at a Spire hospital in Cambridge and then returned home to Coedpoeth to convalesce and to get mum’s advice. She soon had things moving in the right direction, along with the rest of her team at The Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic.

“Having mum on hand to give me expert advice and support when I needed it definitely helped me become a successful international and Olympic rower.

“She was certainly a big part of the gold medal-winning team!”

Tom, who has now retired from competitive rowing, is about to start work as Business Consultant with a top London firm.

Julia said: “Being an athlete he knew all about injuries and sometimes had his own ideas as to how they should be treated.

“And of course, like most athletes, he always wanted to get back training and competing as fast as possible.

“However, whenever he had surgery, such as the back injury which was operated on at Spire Cambridge, he always came straight back to Wrexham and we’d sit down and discuss the way forward.”

Julia, who trained at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and has 40 years experience as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist, is the practice principal of  the independent Chartered Physiotherapy Clinic Limited in Wrexham

She said: “Initially, we were based at Spire Yale Hospital, Wrexham but now have our own premises on Wrexham Technology Park, almost next door to the hospital.

“We enjoy a very close relationship with the hospital, which we visit several times a day to see in-patients and offer post-operative advice.

“In fact our team of qualified physiotherapists are contracted to deliver physiotherapy services to what is North Wales’ sole private hospital. We offer a complete physiotherapy service including acupuncture and electrotherapy treatments.”

She added: “I have always enjoyed being a physiotherapist and take a great deal of satisfaction from treating a patient and seeing their condition improve whether the treatment is post operative or a long standing condition.

“I also enjoy seeing and treating patients at the Spire Abergele Consulting Rooms which is a bright, modern and relaxing venue.”

“I think people are often surprised at the range of conditions we do treat. There is perhaps a view that physiotherapists just deal with aches and strains. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Of course we do treat spinal, sport and soft tissue injuries as well as joint problems, arthritis, trauma and fractures.

“But we also treat stress and incontinence issues in both men and women, neurological conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, chest complaints such as asthma and bronchitis, vestibular disorders such as vertigo and dizziness and pain management of both chronic and acute conditions.

“And all our physiotherapists are chartered and registered with the Health Professions Council while staff with a particular interest and expertise belong to special interest groups which require on-going training and development.”

Sue Jones, the Manager of Spire Yale Hospital and the Consulting Rooms in Abergele, said: “Spire Yale has enjoyed a long relationship with Julia James and the rest of the team. I know her gold medal winning son Tom trusts his mum’s judgement and skills as a physiotherapist and I do to.

“The service they provide is exceptional and I know, from patient feedback, how popular their clinics and consultations are. This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Spire Yale and for much of that time Julia and her team have provided an excellent physiotherapy service to our patients.”

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