I want to share my story, a story about how my time as a professional athlete was cut short due to injury. I am honoured to be speaking at the fantastic GESS Dubai 2021 event to talk about my professional comeback journey into the world of sport again and how my academic career saved me during my injury relapse.
Back in 2011, I suffered from a severely torn rotator cuff in my hitting shoulder; following on from my surgery, I was told I would never be able to play Badminton at a professional level again. This was a devastating blow. Representing my country in the European Championships was a dream and something I never got to fulfil. When sport is taken away from an athlete, hours of training has stopped, tournaments are no longer available to compete in, I doubted my self-worth. What was I destined to do? My time and energy were suddenly redirected onto a different path, which I never expected to take at such a young age.
In 2012 my academic career rocketed. I qualified as a PE Teacher and moved up the rank relatively quickly. I secured an SLT position only six years into my teaching practice. This gave me a new focus, although I could not achieve my dream of playing in the Olympics. I wanted to pass on my passion and love for sport to a new generation of athletes, providing them with the same opportunities I had, giving them every chance to succeed. Teaching then became my drive. I relished the opportunity to teach and provide students with a world-class education. Physical Education (PE) develops students' competence and confidence to participate in a range of activities that become a central part of their lives, both in and out of school. A high-quality PE curriculum enables all students to enjoy and succeed in many kinds of day to day activities. I wanted to prepare students to live a healthy and prosperous life, developing skills such as resilience, ambition and motivation that can be transferable to any life skill in the future.
The drive, determination, ambition and discipline skills I inherited from the professional world of sport enabled me to regain my focus, reset my career and aspiration goals for me to be successful. The journey wasn't easy, but against many challenges and barriers, I won. I won at all costs. I achieved my goals and I am a product of success.
I have a point to prove. I want to prove that no dream is too big and anything can be achieved when you put your mind to it! 2020 has given me a chance, to make a comeback into the world of professional sport, I am training professionally here in Dubai. Come along to the GESS Dubai event and attend my session to determine what winning at all costs genuinely means for me and my professional career in the future.
Register for GESS Dubai 2021 (14 - 16 November)
Author: Sarah Louise Saiger, Professional Athlete & School Development Manager, Cambridge International