While, sadly, no GB Softball National Teams are playing internationally in 2021, the British Softball Federation is excited to announce that for the first time in the history of our national fastpitch teams, we now have a designated sports therapist for each team in the programme.
Recruiting a therapist for all eight teams has been a long-term aim, and the vision has finally been fulfilled thanks to the hard work of GB Senior Women’s Team Sports Therapist Kim Hannessen, who heads the GB Softball sports therapy programme.
As of this year, there are therapists assigned to work with the athletes in each of our eight fastpitch national teams, not only for treatment purpose, but to implement strength and conditioning programmes and provide education about nutrition, doping and how to look after themselves all year round.
Kim Hannessen said, “It is an exciting time for the GB programme to have so many talented individuals available to our athletes, which can only help with their development and the development of our programmes.”
Below is a brief introduction to the GB Softball sports therapy family.
GB Senior Women’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Kim has spent the past seven years working with GB Softball programmes, starting in 2014 with the Under-19 Women’s Team and then for the past five years with the Senior Women’s Team. Over that time, she has taken on the lead role in the GB Fastpitch Sports Therapist programme, implementing sports science and strength and conditioning standards.
Kim completed a degree in Exercise Physiology and has since worked both in private and public healthcare rehabilitation. She enjoys the mix of being able to help people who are chronically ill in her day-to-day life and then working with the opposite extreme of high-performance athletes in a fast-paced high-demand environment.
Kim says, “I am lucky to have had so many memorable moments throughout my journey so far. Although we walked away from the Olympic Qualifier in 2019 in second place, it was an unbelievable experience and something I learned so much from. The team was so inspiring to work with and I am thankful for the opportunity. I believe we will yet again be serious contenders for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.”
GB Senior Men’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Ryan qualified as a physiotherapist in 2015.
Since then, he has spent a number of years working in both the NHS and sporting settings with Saracens RFC, Coventry City Football Club, Coventry Rugby Club and Bishops Stortford Rugby Club.
Ryan said, “I am very excited about joining GB Softball and gaining the experience of working with and developing talented male athletes in an international setting. I can't wait to create a high-quality performance programme for the Men’s Team players to help develop them as athletes and as people.
"Softball is a sport I know little about," Ryan added, "and I look forward to learning more about it every week while helping the GB Men's Team be successful in international tournaments.”
GB Under-23 Men’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Danny has a Bsc (Hons) in Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, and a Bsc (Hons) in Physiotherapy. He has worked in professional football for approximately five years and is currently based at Darlington Football Club. He has also worked for Swim England with the British Water Polo National Squads.
Danny said, “I wanted to join GB Softball as I felt it would be a new and valuable experience. I am always looking to develop my skills within sport and when the opportunity came up I jumped at the chance. I can't wait to get started, I can't wait to meet everyone and start developing relationships with the players. I love working in a team environment -- the different characters and the highs and lows of competition. We all win as a team and lose as a team, but hopefully I can help keep everyone fit enough to make sure we win more often than we lose!
"Everyone I have talked to so far speaks so passionately about it,” Danny added, “so that is a feeling I also want to develop. I am very keen on putting my own stamp on the medical side of things within the Under-23 Men’s set-up, which will hopefully grow and develop over the years.”
Under-22 Women’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Edwin has been with GB Women's Softball since 2016 and has worked with the Under-16s, Under-19s, and Under- 22s.
He is a Musculoskeletal and Orthopaedic Physiotherapist by background, currently working with robotic knee and hip replacements.
"The best part of working with GB Softball,” Edwin said, “has to be the friendships I have gained with athletes, coaching staff, and the softball community.
"One of my highlights," Edwin added, "was being part of the winning GB Under-19 Women’s Team at the European Championship in Barcelona in 2016. I am excited that the GB Softball therapy team is expanding and I look forward to meeting everyone in the near future.”
GB Under-18 Women’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Sarah qualified in 2010 with an MSc in Physiotherapy after previously completing a degree in Sport & Exercise Sciences. Her passion is to enable people to get the best from their bodies and maintain physical fitness, helping people from all walks of life to achieve their goals, from doing the garden pain-free to competing in top-level sports.
She started with GB Softball in 2018.
Sarah said, “I enjoy working with GB Softball as it’s such a change from my typical working day in clinic. It can be a much more challenging environment in many different ways, which is rewarding. I’ve always been involved in sports and want to help athletes perform at their very best. I would love to see GB Softball teams reach European finals consistently over all age groups.
“My most memorable moments,” Sarah added, “were helping the GB Women’s Team in 2019 during their build-up to Olympic Qualifiers and working with players from all age groups during the GB Florida Training Camp.
GB Under-18 Men’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Kila is a Sports Rehabilitator from Cornwall who has worked within elite level rugby, military, amputee and complex trauma.
She is also a Yoga & Pilates instructor with her own business in Southwest London.
Kila said, “I wanted to join GB Softball to learn about a new sport, immerse myself within the environment and develop myself as a clinician. I hope to become part of the squad and support developing athletes through injuries and to achieve peak performance.
"I look forward to meeting everyone," Kila added, "and getting stuck into a strong season post-pandemic.”
GB Under-15 Women’s Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist
Natasha has a Sports Therapist BSc (Hons) degree and has worked with Reading Rugby Club for the past six years, where she is now the first team therapist and the head of the medical team.
She has travelled with a youth football team to the last two Gothia Youth Football World Cups in Sweden and also has a full-time role as a lecturer at Solent University, where she teaches massage and rehabilitation modules.
Natasha said, “I am looking forward to the exposure to the different types of injuries that occur within softball. I would like to be able to gain knowledge from the staff that currently work in softball and learn from them. I’m excited about meeting the squad and being able to work with them to help them achieve their best, as well as being able to travel to some cool places and experience sport at an elite level.”
GB Cubs (Under-13) Fastpitch Team Sports Therapist (and Head Coach)
Jodie graduated from Chichester University in 2017 with a Sports Therapist BSc (Hons) degree and has gone on to do further qualifications in Dry Needling and Spinal Manipulation. She has owned her own company since 2014 and now employs other therapists within West Sussex where her clinic is situated. Jodie has worked in elite sport, predominately football, and has been able to travel to numerous European countries for fixtures and tournaments, gaining valuable experience.
But Jodie is also completely steeped in softball. She has been in the GB set-up since she was nine years old as a player who started with the GB Under-13 Team travelling to European Championships.
Her playing career ended when she was selected for the GB Under-19 squad and suffered a shoulder injury while playing in the Junior World Championship in Canada in 2013. She then became an Assistant Coach for the GB Under-13s when she was 15 years old and has been the team’s Head Coach and Sports Therapist for the past four years.
Jodie said, “I am still involved with the GB set-up because I believe that development of the youth players that filter through to the older age groups is paramount. Providing therapy services to the Under-13 players while they are in our care as well as coaching them, especially on tour, allows me to make decisions based on their physical well-being, although at times this has been challenging.
“My favourite moment from my GB career of playing and then being a coach/therapist,” Jodie added, “has to be when the GB Under-13s took the silver medal at the Massimo Romeo Youth Trophy tournament in 2019! It was amazing, something we had been trying to achieve for years!”