EIS round up of 2018: Part II

By Lucy Lomax | 21/12/2018

In the second of two articles rounding up 2018, we look back at some of the highlights from the latter half of the year including workshops, collaborations, fundraising events and expeditions across the Pacific Ocean.

The summer of 2018 brought football World Cup fever with England progressing to the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Two staff members from the EIS played integral roles in Gareth Southgate’s backroom team. Simon Spencer, EIS Head of Physiotherapy and Mike Naylor, EIS Head of Performance Nutrition, joined the squad for their warm-up games in England and travelled with them to Russia. Read more.

From 6th June– 8th August, EIS Athlete Health Intelligence Consultant Caroline Lander took on an extraordinary challenge when she attempted to row across the Pacific Ocean on a boat with no engine, sail or mechanical propulsion, with two other women, for 62 days.
We spoke to Caroline who shared her amazing experience and achievement with us. She said: “I feel like it’s proven to me that anything is possible, and that people put up a lot of barriers as to why things aren’t achievable, but actually if you want something enough and are prepared to work for it enough then anything is possible.” Read more about Caroline’s inspiring journey.

Heading into September, EIS staff at sites in the West Midlands kicked-off an ambitious fundraising initiative, Travel to Tokyo: 2020 for 2020, to raise money for the EIS’s 2018 Charity of the Year, Claire House Children’s Hospice.

18 members of staff from Lilleshall and Birmingham are still taking part in the challenge to collectively cover 2020 kilometres before the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Phase one took place throughout September and has seen the team deploy a range of methods to reach the target including a lunchtime walking club, holding walking meetings outside and individual members of staff running and walking.

On World Mental Health Day on 10th October, UK Sport and EIS unveiled increased measures to facilitate a positive mental health environment across the Olympic and Paralympic sport system.

A new Mental Health Strategy, developed by a Mental Health Steering Group with representation from leading mental health charity MIND, was launched consisting of four key pillars which are: education, provision, communication and assurance. A number of key appointments including the Head of Mental Health and members of an expert mental health panel were announced in December. Read more.

At the end of October, EIS Lead Sports Psychologist Sarah Cecil lent her expertise to servicemen and women taking part in the Invictus Games, the world’s only international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, in Australia.

Sarah said: “The real joy for me comes seeing the athletes with their friends and family after competing, then hearing the stories about what the servicemen and women go on and do next.” Read more about Sarah’s involvement here.

To round off the year, the EIS National Conference took place at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. This year’s conference was around Collective Brilliance, the notion that as an organisation we are more powerful together than we are individually.

The opening day consisted of keynote speakers including British Skeleton Performance Director Danny Holdcroft and Head of Medicine and Sport Science at British Swimming Karl Cooke, plus an extraordinary key note filled with honest sharing and inspiring insight from double Olympic Skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold.


The remainder of the day consisted of problem solving forums, a poster ‘Research’ and ‘WOW’ zone, followed by the final keynote from retired Metropolitan Police Officer John Sutherland. The evening festivities then began with an awards night, dinner and dancing.

The event was an apt celebration of a year which has seen many successes in the elite sporting arena, involving many sports the EIS supports, as well as achievements and progress in many projects and initiatives the EIS continues to be involved in as we head into 2019.