Judoka Sarah Adlington on winning gold and beating shoulder injuries


Sarah Adlington’s list of achievements is impressive – among them taking back-to-back golds in the Commonwealth Games in 2012 and 2022 (there was no judo in the 2018 games). She has also won the heavyweight British title no fewer than 6 times! As an impatient 5-year-old, she watched her Dad and brother doing judo and could not wait to take to the mats herself – she never looked back.  Along the way though Sarah has battled some pretty serious shoulder injuries.

Wear and tear injuries are common in judo just because of the nature of the sport. Typically of many high-level sportspeople, Sarah battled on several times with shoulder injuries until the pain became too much and was hindering her chances of qualifications. An interesting discussion ensues about the professional mindset when it comes to dealing with an injury in the first place. 

Sarah first met Prof Mackay after her right shoulder became unstable and treatment became necessary. From a surgeon’s point of view, he describes how common this is in sports patients and that he often sees such injuries late on when an earlier intervention would be indicated. 

Sarah talks through her successful recovery process before she, unfortunately, went on to injure her left shoulder – describing feeling it tear during a competition. So we talk over advice on dealing with shoulder injuries and some of the other common injuries in judo.

A brilliant episode with a focussed sportswoman at the top of her game.


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