Judoka James Austin and the giant knee injury


Brilliant to welcome Olympian and World Cup gold winner, Judoka James Austin to the podcast. Incredibly James has also won the British title in three different weight categories (we ask him how that is even possible!) James and Prof Mackay met when James suffered a serious knee injury which ultimately kept him out of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Talking to James the first thing that comes across is his absolute love for the sport of Judo still going strong after stumbling across it 32 years ago. From the age of 11 to the age of 14 he tells us he won absolutely nothing pretty much till he took an under-16 British Title. It is really refreshing to hear how, undaunted he just kept doing what he loved and boy did it ever pay off for him.

Of course, he talks us through his ‘other level’ knee injury and you can hear, even from this distance the impact it had at the time. In typical James fashion though he turned it into a positive – using the encouragement of team-mates and help from the support team to make a remarkable recovery, although it was fully two years before he managed to compete again.

Now as a coach and sports psychologist, he is perhaps uniquely placed to understand the pressures of training and avoiding injury. 

Hearing him chat about the atmosphere at London 2012 is particularly inspiring even though, to begin with, he was as he says, ‘bricking it!’ A brilliant episode, full of James’ self-deprecating wit – don’t let him fool you though there is an iron will and a lot of talent behind the jokes! 

For more judo chat check out his own ‘Original Judo Podcast’.


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