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Freedom of movement at ‘Hip vs Knee’ hockey event

In what is believed to be a world first, 27 hockey players with either a hip, knee or both replacement surgery, and with an average age of 69 took to the pitch in Perth to celebrate the wonder of movement.

27 hockey players with either a hip, knee or both replacement surgery took to the pitch in Perth to celebrate the wonder of movement
27 hockey players with either a hip, knee or both replacement surgery took to the pitch in Perth to celebrate the wonder of movement

The ‘Hip vs Knee’ event saw a team of 12 people with hip replacements face a rotating team of 14 people with knee replacements. And to ensure no bias, the two umpires had both hip and knee replacements!

Simon Thomson, President of Western Hockey Masters and organiser of the event, says the event was devised when the hockey club became aware of the number of players who returned to play hockey after hip or knee replacement surgery.

“We wanted to address the lack of awareness in the community that it is no longer necessary to suffer lack of mobility with painful hip or knee joints,” he says. “I had my hip replacement 12 years ago, but realistically I should’ve had it done earlier.”

Mr Thomson says he was playing hockey up until around 10 months before he had his surgery, but he was on strong painkillers. “Getting in and out of a car was painful, but you got used to the continual pain and doing things in a certain way,” he says. “After my surgery, the nurse asked why I wasn’t using the pain relief – I said it was the first time in five years I had no pain!”

Mr Thomson says many people he talks to put off having surgery because they think it will be the end of their competitive sport career, but as he, and the other players have shown, this is not the case. “We have so many people coming back with new knees and hips,” he highlights. “The oldest player on the day, captain of the Knees team, team is 77.”

After a hard fought game, the Hip team won 3-1 and were presented with a unique trophy with a replacement hip and knee on it. “Everyone said it was an amazing event and we’re planning another game next year,” says Mr Thomson.

The Australian Orthopaedic Association’s (AOA), which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, supported the event.

AOA President, Dr Ian Incoll says such an event is a celebration of the wonder of movement and provides the Australian orthopaedic community a chance to reflect on the significant contribution hip and knee replacement surgery provides thousands of Australians every year. “Being able to enjoy the freedom of movement, let alone undertake sporting endeavours, just wouldn’t be possible without the significant advancements in prosthesis technology and the superior surgical techniques that have been developed over the past 80 years,” he says.

To coincide with the event the AOA has released The Wonder of Movement video, which celebrates and raises awareness of orthopaedic outcomes in the Australian community.

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