13 April 2022 – Podium Analytics (“Podium”), the NGO and charity committed to reducing injury in sport, is pleased to welcome Sam Ward, England and Great Britain hockey player, to its growing team of Athlete Ambassadors.
Sam has experienced a number of injuries, including a career-threatening incident during an Olympic qualifier against Malaysia in 2019 in which a hockey ball shattered his eye socket and led to impaired vision in his left eye. Following a lengthy recovery process, Sam returned to the Great Britain (GB) training programme in 2020 and secured a place in the GB Olympic hockey squad. Sam now wears a specially-designed face mask when he plays hockey to protect his eye and the upper portion of his face post-injury.
Commenting on his appointment, Sam Ward, said: “I’m lucky that my injury happened on an international stage. I feel incredibly fortunate to have received such excellent medical and psychological support over the past years to deal with the impact of the injury and the challenges of recovery. Without all that, I don’t think I’d have come back to the sport at the level I’m playing now. Ensuring focus of this kind and minimising injury, and the impact of injury, at a youth level is really needed. That’s why I am a huge advocate of Podium’s work and am excited to work with the team to keep more kids in sport for longer!”
Andy Hunt, CEO of Podium Analytics, added: “We have been deeply impressed by Sam’s comeback after Malaysia, and he’s done it again post-Tokyo. We look forward to learning from Sam’s experience to design solutions for young people, and I am certain that the drive, resilience and personality that Sam brings to the GB and England team will help us to create a safer world of sport for the next generation of players – at all levels.”
Sam Ward has played as a forward for the England and Great Britain team since 2014. He has established himself as one of the most effective attackers in world hockey and, as top scorer with nine goals across the tournament, helped England to a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
After his eye injury in 2019, Sam returned to hockey and went on to compete with GB in the FIH Pro League matches in May 2021. He finished as the joint-highest scorer with six goals at the 2021 EuroHockey Championships with England, before adding five more to his name with GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, despite playing through the Games with a broken hand. Sam has recently returned to the game following hand surgery in October 2021. He continues to play for Old Georgians in England Hockey’s Premier Division.