Lisa Cairns, 25, is previously from Bathgate, West Lothian but is currently living in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Lisa has been doing karate for 19 years and sport in general for 22 years (swimming, athletics, ballet).
Lisa's has a BSc in Physiotherapy & MSc in Musculoskeletal injuries. She previously worked in the NHS in both Lanarkshire & Lothian in musculoskeletal outpatients, and currently works in a private clinic in Brisbane city centre and covers a women's rugby 15's team and a men and women's rugby 7's team. Lisa was kind enough to provide us with insight and inspiration into her performance career and also, the ongoing battle of injury that she has been faces. She is a true inspiration to those who have perserved through pain, and strives every day to be better.
What got me started in karate:
My mum and brother used to do karate and I wanted to do what my older brother done, as soon as I started I never looked back.
My biggest sports accomplishment:
I can't say that I only have one, I have a few they would be getting a bronze medal at the Worlds, winning the
Europeans and winning the Commonwealth games. Also being part of the Scottish National Team for 8years prior to leaving Scotland.
Key to Success:
I would say my dedication is key to my sucess. The fact that I am not 19years down the line in this sport and I continue to attend my training sessions 3 times a week, regardless of what else I have on or what injuries I
have. The other would be discipline, I am very disciplined towards my sport and perfecting my sport whether that is a technique I want to master or a speed drill or an endurance drill I will do whatever it takes to be the best at what I do. I am a high achiever.
My ultimate achievement would have been to win the world championships if you had asked me a few months ago. However now it would be to be a very successful coach at World level and for my students to bring back medals.
My biggest challenge has to be my back injury that I sustained when I was just 17. I kept pushing through my pain and continued to be successful at the highest level until I was told I had to go for spinal surgery in July 2009. Following my surgery in July 2009 I was still in a lot of pain and when I went back for my follow up I was informed my surgery had been done wrong and the wrong level of my spine had been operated on. I then was informed that I had to go back and have a second surgery just 6weeks after the first operation.
Following my second surgery I really struggled to get back to training and full fitness and had 15months off competing and 9months off training. When I finally got back training and competing I struggled with fatigue and pain in my back. I soon realised that I may never get back to the same level of karate again. I was then informed in August 2012 that I should stop competing all together and begin to limit my training as my back was considered unstable. I was devastated as you can imagine and felt like I was grieving a loss. I found it
difficult to overcome but I did.
I then decided to move to Australia. I continue to try and train over here and my back had been feeling a little better until I had an acute episode at work where my back locked up, gave way and went into spasm. I then proceeded to go and see the top neurosurgeon in Brisbane he informed me that my back was much worse than I ever anticipated. He informed me that my stabilising muscles and ligaments of my lower back had been cut through and the muscle could not be replaced or improved and therefore told me that I required to have my spine reconstructed in September this year. I will only be allowed to do some light training from now on, no high impact activities from now on and i will never compete again.
I think life gets in the way, people are either at university where they struggle to do the whole time management thing or they start working and have to work late and can't make training or can't get time off for competitions. Some people simply get scunnered with it and lose interest and the other one is that
financially its hard to keep up a sport that you get no funding for.
Mind Games (can't remember who its by)
Write down top 10 achievements in anything in my life so far and look at it every night and every morning.
Never be afraid of failure.
I draw my inspiration from my coaches and my family, they have supported me through my highs and my lows. They have stuck by me and helped me through some of the toughest times in my sporting career.
Sport psychology helped me change my mindset and helped me to overcome any feelings of doubt or belief that I may have had.
I think there can be mixed feelings towards psychology, some people feel there is a stigma attached
to all kinds of psychology, however I believe that smart athletes out there it will help them to focus on the mindset and how important that it to achieving your goals. If you do not believe you are good enough to be there you can be the most talented sports person but you will never make it to the top level.
Sports psychology helped me to get rid of some of my anger that I had with regards to my back. It also helped me to pick out my beliefs and where I saw myself and how I rated myself, this was what I realised that I had to change in order to be successful.
Advice for Coaches:
I think its important for coaches to always tell you how good you are, only if it is the truth. They need to have constructive criticism and always needs to follow up on a positive, never a negative. My coaches have always
believed in me and have always given constructive criticism and pushed me as they knew how to motivate me. Its important that each coach knows how to individually motivate each person as everyone is different.
Sometimes they consistently criticise when I am in the wrong frame of mind I take it to heart and then my performance can decrease. I would say make sure coaches know the extent of the injury and know at
what emotional state they are in at the time. Do not push them to go back before they feel confident.
Advice to those who are injured:
I would say think about why the injury has occurred was it due to trauma which there would have been very little you could have done to change it, or was it due to poor biomechanics, technique or muscular imbalance then get it fixed now do not train through it and hope it was go away as it won't. Try to stay positive and think of all the things you have achieved and what you still want to achieve, continue to set yourself goals and even if its getting out of bed in the morning getting washed and changed. You will always come out the other end and there is always someone worse off.