A CITY hospital physiotherapist who helped Covid patients in the pandemic will live out a dream when she plays for Scotland at the Rugby World Cup.
Lyndsay O’Donnell, a Worcester physiotherapist, is preparing for the tournament in New Zealand in October after joining Scotland’s summer training camp.
She is taking a brief career break from her everyday role helping patients recover or improve their movement, to train full-time as part of an 11-week training camp in preparation for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The Stirling-born second row has captained Worcester Warriors Women for the last three seasons in the domestic Premier 15s competition.
Lyndsay has been able to take a short break from her NHS career to train full-time thanks to an unprecedented support package from Scottish Rugby for the Women’s training squad.
Lyndsay said: “I’m so excited to have the opportunity and the support to train full time with the Scotland squad over the summer and will put everything into being part of the final squad for the tournament.
“I’ve played across Europe in Italy, France and Spain, but I’ve never played any further afield, so would absolutely love to have the opportunity to play in New Zealand.”
The 29-year-old is hoping to add to the 16 Scotland caps already to her name, having made her international debut back in 2013.
After being called up for the Six Nations earlier this year, the Senior Physiotherapist for Frailty is relishing the prospect of playing in Scotland’s first World Cup since 2010.
“This is the first time we’ve qualified for the World Cup in 12 years. I’ve been involved with the squad since 2013, and after playing a part in the last three qualifying games, it’s a massive ambition of mine to be part of the squad that get to fulfill the dream that so many players will have had over these last 12 years,” Lyndsay said.
Scotland are in Pool A along with Wales, Australia and defending champions and hosts New Zealand. The tournament was delayed from 2021 due to travel restrictions in the country as a result of Covid-19 – a subject that Lyndsay is all too familiar with.
Lyndsay worked closely with Covid patients throughout the peak of the pandemic, helping to identify patients who needed extra help breathing and supporting Covid patients with their recovery and rehabilitation.
Having moved to Worcester to study Sports Therapy at the University of Worcester, Lyndsay joined Worcester Warriors Women, helping them to the Premiership title in 2013. Lyndsay later completed a Physiotherapy Masters at Glasgow Caledonian University before starting her role at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
After two warm-up games on home soil against Spain and the USA, those selected for the final Scotland squad will travel to New Zealand at the end of September, before the tournament kicks off on 8 October.
Lyndsay will return to her role in Worcestershire’s hospitals following the World Cup, adding: “I love my job, I love what I do, and I love the effect that I can have in optimizing a patient’s quality of life. I am very grateful to my team in the NHS for supporting me to have a career break, and for all the support they give me”.