Saffron Allen, who won a bronze medal as part of the Great Britain women's ice hockey team that took part at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation women's world championship in Slovenia – was recently fitted with Formthotics at our booth at the Therapy Expo in Birmingham, UK.
Saffron had been been suffering a great deal of foot pain when walking and running, and especially when wearing her ice hockey skates. After being fitted with Formthotics in both her skates and trainers, she couldn’t believe the improvement – with a considerable lessening of the pain while walking. Formthotics orthotics in hockey skates proved to be a great solution for her foot pain, now to investigate enhancements in skating speed and agility performance.
Also a third-year sports therapy student at the University of Gloucestershire, we followed up with Saffron to learn more about her and her experiences. Read her story below:
What is your background and how has it led you to being an ice hockey player?
When I was 6 years old my family moved to Shropshire from Guildford and, when getting to know the local area, my brother saw a beginners ice hockey poster in the ice rink and began playing. As a typical sibling I wanted to follow him and began playing ice hockey. 15 years later I have never looked back!
How did your need for Formthotics arise?
I attended the Therapy Expo event in Birmingham, UK in 2016 and saw the Formthotics stand. I was interested to know what Formthotics did and if they would help my foot biomechanics – given that the past 15 years my feet have always hurt badly in my skates. I was fitted with Formthotics by John O’Regan which was great – and allowed me to understand the product. After talking and trying some in my shoes, I was asked to take my skates in the following day and try them also – the Formthotics have been in ever since and have helped loads.
Since being fitted with Formthotics, what are your findings?
Once I became used to Formthotics in my skates, I completed a couple of skating tests. Below are my times both without and with Formthotics. I think we can safely say that Formthotics have helped me skate a little faster!
- 1 lap sprint:
Without Formthotics: 20.80s, with Formthotics: 18.18s (13% improvement)
- Iron cross agility:
Without Formthotics: 16.90s, with Formthotics: 14.41s (15% improvement)
What is a typical training day, month, year, etc?
Unfortunately, due to funding we are all non-professionals – our training has to work around everyday life. We are all in full-time jobs or education, and our training varies person-to-person. I usually get to a gym 4-5 times a week and have on-ice training 1-2 times per week. Our club season runs from September to May, and our international world championships are Easter time each year.
Does training differ between events?
We try and train as much as we can all year round, it eases off a little over the summer depending on what we all have on – however, we have to keep training to compete with other countries that are professional!
Hopefully through working with Formthotics I can continue to skate pain free in my skates. As mentioned above, my speed also improved whilst wearing Formthotics – so this is a huge factor when competing on the international stage at such events as world championships and Olympic qualifiers.
Do you have any advice for others who want to join the ice hockey environment – of any level?
Definitely come a long and get in touch with your local ice-rink about how to get involved. The younger you are the better – but whatever age you are, definitely ask!
What are your biggest personal achievements related to ice hockey?
My biggest achievement was coming back to ice hockey and getting back into the Great Britain team after having a huge spinal injury. I was left unable to walk and to begin with was stuck in China for 2 weeks – being told I may not walk again and wouldn’t play again. So, to be back playing for Great Britain and back to normal life, after one heck of a journey, is a huge achievement for me.
Do you have any recommended resources?
www.Iihf.com and www.icehockeyuk.co.uk are fabulous websites to keep up-to-date with our international progress and events.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Not really. Just to live each day like you mean it, as you just do not know what is around the corner.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’ve always wanted to prove to myself that I can do things. Right now, being in university I have a much tougher schedule to most and many people doubt me – for me to be able to prove that it is possible and I can do things is my motivation.
Who were your role models growing up?
My parents and my brother were always people I looked up to. All of them put a lot of effort into becoming who they are and achieving what they have, and so I have always wanted to do that.
Do you have other goals outside of hockey?
For me, it is currently to complete university and gain my sports therapy degree. I would always love to be able to be paid to play ice hockey but unfortunately without a big change in funding it is unlikely.