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You are in: sports > Aquatics > News

Head first into the danger zone

22 July 2002

Diving ranks as one of the most spectacular sports at the Commonwealth Games – but it also has its danger zone.

Diving boards at Manchester 2002

The 10m highboard at the Manchester Aquatics Centre

In fact, you won’t find many of the world-class performers at the Aquatics Centre later this week who haven’t suffered at least one serious injury.

It’s all part of the territory for these athletes and one person who knows all about the risk involved is Amanda Johnson, the England team physiotherapist.

Johnson, who comes from Manchester and has been working with the England diving squad for four years, says: “You only have to look up at the height of the 10-metre platform from poolside to realise how dangerous it can be.

“The divers are doing around 70mph when they hit the water so if they land awkwardly, there can be serious damage.

“I have to treat whiplash and back injuries as well as damaged toes and fingers from divers who have accidentally hit one of the boards. There are a lot of different injuries.”

It isn’t all bad news, though. Johnson rates divers as among the most dedicated and professional sportsmen and women in the world and their training regime as “awesome”.

“I have total respect for them. Their workload in the gym and on the trampoline has to be seen to be believed. You only need to look at them on the boards to realise how fit and strong they are.

“They simply don’t get the credit they deserve,” she added.

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