Wirral yachtsman Will Thompson recently competed in the world Championships after treatment by a hospital physio team.
Will, 47, feared his sailing days were over when agonising pain in his back and elbow made getting into a boat impossible.
In desperation he turned to the Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Heswall for specialist physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy Manager Christopher Buckley, who used to work with Aston Villa’s Academy footballers, said: “When Will came to us he was suffering from a suspected herniated disc also known as a slipped disc or disc prolapse in his lower back.
“It’s where the disc bulges out and is quite a common problem and can be caused by heavy lifting – in the worst cases it can mean surgery and although that wasn’t the case with Will it certainly ruled out sailing.”
Treatment involved getting Will’s pain under control with medication, working closely with his GP to begin a gradual, phased return and twice weekly gym work.
A three-month programme of exercise was also developed using equipment including latex resistance bands, weights and postural sets to mimic what he would have to do on a boat.
Will, who is the vice-commodore of Dee Sailing Club at Thurstaston on the Wirral, said: “I could barely walk, I couldn’t sail and I thought it was the end. I had even written out the advert to sell the boat and had just about hung up my life jacket.”
Since treatment, he took to the waters of the Baltic Sea on his Dart 18 catamaran when the world championships were held in Germany. He said: “Two years ago, I didn’t think I would sail again. Thanks to the physiotherapy team at Spire Murrayfield Hospital they’ve got me back in the boat.”
Photo caption: Yachtsman Will Thompson, right, on board his Dart 18 catamaran with the man who got him fit to sail again, Spire Murrayfield Hospital Physiotherapy Manager Christopher Buckley.