Most of Dr Bryan’s patients will have noticed that he was away the week of 14-18 May. This was to compete for Team GB at the Masters Inline Hockey World Cup taking place in the Czech Republic. This annual event gathers the world’s best national teams from top hockey nations such as Canada, USA, Czech, etc to compete for the title of World Champions. For those who don’t know, inline hockey is a close cousin of ice hockey, except that players skate on a roller blade instead of an ice skate. Other than that, it is virtually the same game as ice hockey in almost every other respect, and just as fast!
After a year off in 2017 to recover from knee surgery, Dr Bryan returned to the GB squad with a renewed sense of determination to compete again at the highest level. In addition, he felt that this year’s GB group was the strongest all around team ever fielded by Britain at the World Cup – a feeling that would ultimately prove itself true within the first few games of the tournament.
This year’s World Cup for Team GB was one of highs and lows.Team GB was placed in a very difficult group with both Canada (ranked 4th) and the USA (ranked 2nd). And GB’s very first game of the tournament was a David vs Goliath match against the USA. However, this difficult match-up seemed to steel the underdog mentality within the GB squad, and in a moment of British hockey history, Team GB went on to play its best match ever, defeating the USA by a score of 4-3. This is the first time Great Britain has ever beaten the USA in ice or inline hockey. In addition to being an important part of Team GB’s defence, Dr Bryan also scored one of the goals in this incredible team achievement.
Team GB went on to play another outstanding game versus Canada, only losing by the closest of margins 3-2, and as a result Team GB placed 2nd in its pool overall. This set up a knockout round match-up against Italy (ranked 5th), and although GB was dominant and deserved to beat the Italians, the game went to sudden death overtime (golden goal) and GB suffered a heart-breaking defeat. A win would have seen GB compete for a top 6 placing, however this loss ultimately resulted in Team GB placing 9th overall.
In the end, this year’s World Cup saw Team GB make history and also post some its strongest results ever. And although the team would have preferred a slightly higher overall placing, there is no doubt that GB has gained considerable ground and is now capable of competing strongly against the world’s best inline hockey teams.
Dr Bryan would like to thank all of his friends and patients for their kind messages of support during this World Cup campaign, and also for allowing him to sneak away for a week to pursue his sporting passion.
Many of Dr Bryan’s patients will remember a time when he could barely walk on his leg due to a bad knee injury. Dr Bryan recognises the obvious parallels that exist between his own battle with overcoming injury and the struggles that many of his patients face in recovering from their own aches, pains and injuries. Ultimately, Dr Bryan is a staunch believer that diligence and persistence pay off. “Never give up.” he says, “When it comes to overcoming a problem or injury, the real battle always exists more in your mind than anywhere else. You’ve got to have faith that the body can almost always recover if given sufficient time and the right amount of care. Set a goal, work hard to achieve it, and don’t let small bumps in the road knock you off course. It sounds simple but it is harder than you think. I think most people can relate to this, and I hope my own success in getting back to full health will inspire my patients to work hard toward their own goals for recovery, health and wellbeing.”