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Thanks, and good luck, Lou!

Of course, everyone is saddened by the sudden ending of the rugby season, but at Minety we were doubly saddened, not just to end the campaign with the best performance of the season but also because we were denied the chance to say a proper farewell to someone who has become a very important part of Minety Rugby Club in 2019 and 2020.

Louise (known to all as Lou) Carlton is leaving us, as we knew she would at the end of this season, and she will be sorely missed by everyone at the club.

Lou has been the club’s therapist / student physio this season and her cheery demeanour has endeared her to everyone at the club. So we thought we’d take this opportunity to say thanks to Lou for all that she’s done for the club and to wish her well in her future life.

Lou very kindly agreed to an email interview this week.

Lou was born in Glasgow at the Southern General Hospital. “’The Sufferin’, as we like to call it!”

She went to Lourdes Primary and Secondary schools, where her father was a teacher, in Cardonald and then progressed to the City of Glasgow college to study Interior Design. It was there that she soon realised that she wasn’t cut out to be a designer.

“I worked for a year or so after college then started the process of joining the army. I wanted an active job that was primarily outdoors and with opportunities to travel. I also wanted to do something that would be physically and mentally challenging, to push my own boundaries and hopefully make me a more motivated person.”

Lou joined the Royal Artillery as a gunner and trained as a soldier first and then went onto specialise as a Desert Hawk III operator (it’s a mini hand-held drone).

“I travelled a lot to take part in sports competitions, and undertook exercises in Gibraltar, Cyprus, Austria and Norway.

“I was always picked for the cross-country team and still have a passion for running. I also completed two seasons of Nordic skiing (classic and biathlon race) which was super challenging but so rewarding to bring medals back to the Regiment.

“The scariest sport I did though was actually sailing; alongside a crew of 7 others we sailed across the Atlantic from Canada back to the UK on the Royal Artillery’s 13 metre ‘Saint Barbara V’. The hardest parts were being at sea with a maximum of 4 hours sleep between watchkeeping, being the medic for a severely dehydrated/sea sick crew member and standing at the bow, freezing cold, checking for icebergs whilst it was dark and visibility was poor. The terrifying part was changing sails in the middle of the night during stormy weather, the giant waves and the boat swaying all over the place – not fun!

“I’ve actually recently just started getting into Olympic weightlifting, which is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.”

Lou had been treated by a Physiotherapist whilst she was in the army for a knee injury and had always been interested in human anatomy and physiology. Seeing the rehabilitation being so effective became inspiration for her and she decided she wanted to do the same for others

She’s presently at Oxford Brooks University, studying for a BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, a three-year long course. At the end, she’ll be a qualified Physiotherapist

But how did she hear about the therapist job at Minety?

“I emailed a few local rugby clubs in the hope I could find something nearby. Andy Grayson got in touch to discuss the job and I arranged to come and visit that same week.”

So what were those first impressions of the club and the players?

“I remember first meeting with Andy and getting to go out and see the guys training. I was quite nervous but everyone was so welcoming and the atmosphere really relaxed. It seemed like more of a family than a rugby club.

“The most amusing moment of my time with Minety was finding space to do pre-match treatments at an away game and the showers being the only place we could find. Somebody leant on the shower button by mistake and we all got soaked!”

Minety has clearly made an impact on Lou.

“I’ll never forget how helpful everyone was and especially when doing the first aid at match days – I always had helpers in the crowd or nearby who were willing to step in when it was busy/if something serious happened. I also feel very lucky to have been welcomed with open arms into the social aspects and getting to know the players and staff out with normal training/fixtures. It’s a very friendly, close-knit club to work for and I could not have had a more positive experience.

“Working with the club has massively helped me with my Physiotherapy degree. I’m a lot more confident interacting with patients and using problem solving to work out what could be causing a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. It’s also helped with my record keeping in regards to sports massage clients, and using effective time management. Lastly, I’ve practiced wide-ranging techniques that will be fundamental to my career in the future e.g. soft tissue work, first aid, sports taping and assessments.

But finishing the second year of her course, and the rugby season isn’t all that’s in store for Lou.

“I have two placements to complete before the summer then a week after we finish 2nd year, pandemic permitting, I’m getting married. So, it will be a busy couple of months but for all the right reasons.”

And what of the long term?

“I would like to continue working within sports until I finish University. Then, I’d like to specialise in MSK and sports Physiotherapy especially within private practice such as a football or rugby team. My experience with Minety has cemented that ambition.”

Fortunately it will only be a temporary farewell to Lou.

“It will be lovely to catch up with everyone at some point in the near future. Wishing everyone a great summer, ready to start the next season. I’m also super proud of the team for doing so well this season. We’ll still be living fairly nearby so would love to join any social events coming up as I’ll really miss the family at Minety RFC.”

I’m sure we all wish Lou and her husband to be all the very best. So from Minety RFC, Thanks and good luck, and from me “Happy New Year!”


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