Olympic fever is only just starting for one member of staff at George Eliot Hospital. Senior Physiotherapist Mat Jones is heading to the 2012 London Paralympic Games as part of the support team for the Great Britain blind football squad.
Mat will provide on-field treatment for players as well as running clinics and providing post match first aid. He became involved in the set-up whilst managing local team Witherley FC who play in the Coventry Alliance Premier League. He was then approached by the English Football Association who felt that with his experience
First up, GB face 2010 World Blind Football Championship finalists Spain before playing Iran and Argentina. Two teams qualify from the group to play in the semi finals, with the winners of that match playing for the gold and silver medals and the losers playing for the bronze medal.
Mat has plenty of experience of international competitions having recently travelled to the 2011 Paralympics Worlds Games in Turkey where the England finished 4th and the 2011 European Championships, also in Turkey, where they finished 3rd.
Mat said: “It’s very exciting, tickets have been sold out for months and interest in blind football has never been so strong. Not many people get the chance to represent their country on the biggest stage of all so I’m extremely proud if not a little nervous. We’re definitely in with a good shout of winning a medal and with home support, hopefully we’ll be able to go all the way.