Volunteer make Lions proud

Volunteer make Lions proud

Many people contribute to our Lions family – foremost is the players and the coaches, but also our patrons too, which include the Birmingham Lions Programme and the University of Birmingham including their Alumni – but we also have to include within that group our volunteers, those people that give up their time to assist us in our goals and ambitions, from the photographers, (notably Garry Charles (but also to others such as Garry Neesam, Andy M. Neale and Luke Plastow who capture the Lions as part of their coverage of the women’s game), to our training assistants, statisticians and medical staff and it is with regards to the latter that we’d like to introduce you to Gurjinder ‘Jinda’ Kaur Ghuman.

Graduating from University College Birmingham in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy (accredited by Birmingham University) Jinda attained her Post Graduate Certificate in Sports Therapy from Leeds Metropolitan University the following year. Since graduating she’s continued to up-skill, undertaking the Lubas Medical Sports Trauma Management course, the Football Associations’ Emergency Aid and a number of FA coaching courses. Jinda is also currently completing her RFU Level 2 in Strength & Conditioning.

Invited to attend a mid-week training session Jinda was impressed from the start: “After hearing about the Lions, and how they had gone from entering a newly formed team last season and winning football’s national title on their first go, I was intrigued to see what the Lions was all about, I went to watch the team train and after just one session I knew that I wanted to get involved: the team’s spirit, enthusiasm, professionalism and love for the game was plain to see.”

Not content with supporting teams and athletes across other sports (notably rugby, football and mixed martial arts) Jinda is now on-board as the Lions’ Lead Sports Therapist and so far she has been put to very good use indeed, managing our injured players and clearing them or otherwise to train and play.

“My role involves providing pitch-side injury cover, pre- and post-sports massage, injury assessment and rehabilitation but also relaying information back to the coaching staff on the injury status of players and whether they are fit to practice and play…the team’s attitude to welfare has meant that my decisions are valued and respected and this is in its self a great testament to the ethics the Lions both profess and stand by”.

Taking a firm and focused player safety and welfare approach Jinda is keen also to further improve the reputation of the sport by ensuring associated medical support is fit for purpose too: “Having qualified, trained medical staff available not only on match days, but also at training sessions is paramount for me. For American Football to get the same recognition as other major sports in the UK it is essential that we not only focus on developing the sports’ players but also the aligned coaching and medical staff too.”

Combining this diligence for the sport, alongside her proven knowledge, experience and personable manner Jinda has fit in seamlessly to Birmingham’s fold, but it’s not all been plain sailing: “there was a challenge coming in as I knew little about football, however I took to watching a lot of NFL action and researching the different positions to understand more about the demands the players face – I now have a greater appreciation of the common types of injuries sustained and indeed some of the situations in which they can occur.” The down-side to all this extra studying however is that Jinda has now become a 49ers fan but we won’t hold it against her (…for too long).

Offering additional, specialist support to the team courtesy of her own clinic, Versatile Therapists, players are assured of optimum treatment with Jinda or a member of her team, depending on the type of treatment needed. “We’ve been very spoilt having Jinda on board” offered Head Coach Jamie Kilby, “she adds to our ranks with a great deal of experience and enthusiasm, and her opinion is highly regarded when it comes to managing our players. She’s a good fit for this team and we thank her for her contribution to date.”

…couldn’t have said it better ourselves! A belated welcome Jinda, great to have you on the team.

Image courtesy of, and with thanks to, Jim Messenger.

Birmingham Lions' Sports Therapist Gurjinder Ghuman