A CHARTERED physiotherapist from Inishowen will present her thesis at next year’s International Olympic Committee World Conference.

Ellevyn Irwin will travel to Monaco in March 2020 to attend the IOC World Conference on the prevention of injury and illness in sport. Her abstract, entitled ‘Clinically-orientated assessments of hamstring muscle strength are reliable’ caught the eye of the organisers and the study will also be published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

When the envelope arrived, emblazoned with that distinctive logo – the five interlocking rings – Ellevyn was stunned.

“I was surprised when they came back to say it was accepted,” the 30-year old tells Donegal Woman.

“When I submitted it at first, it was a shot in the pond. I was surprised when they accepted it. This is a really well renowned conference. It’s great for my profile to be able to say that the IOC World Conference wants to use my thesis.”

After graduating from Trinity College with an Honours degree in physiotherapy, she turned turn a chance to complete a PhD. Instead, she completed a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from UCD, which she completed in 2018.

Professors Eamonn Delahunt and Ulrik McCarthy-Persson urged her to submit her thesis for consideration for the Conference. 

Alongside fellow students Grainne O’Callaghan and Aine Tunny, Ellevyn carried out a group project.

The thesis was based on testing hamstring strength, using a handheld dynamometer.

“We carried out the study in three different phases,” Ellevyn explains.

“The first was to test the reliability of the devise. For example, I’m six feet tall and Grainne is 5’5” – so, was there a difference in each test? Will I resist the strength better? 

“It was really accurate and reliable even though there was a height and strength difference. 

“That facilitated the project for phase 2, when we gathered a normative pool of data on 150 athletes, GAA players, soccer players and rugby players.

“We had the idea for phase three, but time constrains meant we didn’t get around to that yet.”

Ellevyn is an accomplished sportswoman herself. With 48 caps playing basketball for Ireland, she has been on the European stage with the country.

Locally, she has turned out for the LYIT basketball team and has won All-Ireland and Ulster medals with Donegal ladies Gaelic football teams.

 Ellevyn Irwin is an accomplished basketball player – who has played 48 times for Ireland

Ellevyn’s sporting interests were diverse having also been a six-time Irish Inter-Varisty Ladies Freestyle Skiing champion.

She worked with the Donegal senior football team under Rory Gallagher’s management and was part of Gary McDaid’s backroom with the Donegal U20s over the last two years. She also works with the Irish basketball team and was with Gaoth Dobhair in 2019.

After leaving Trinity, Ellevyn – who has also worked with Derry City’s academy – spent some time at Leinster Rugby, working alongside senior physio Brendan O’Connell.

“I learned so much there at Leinster, it was a brilliant experience,” Ellevyn says. “I was with Donegal when I decided that I wanted to do the Masters and I started in 2016. 

“My background has helped me so much. I played a lot of sport and that helped get in to work with the Irish basketball team. 

“I love being in the team environment, even if I’m not actually playing. I’ve sort of given up my own sport, but I still play as much as I can.

“It doesn’t seem like work to me – I’m just part of a team and going to training like everyone else.”

Ellevyn has chartered physiotherapy clinics in Buncrana and Letterkenny. For more information, check out: http://www.ellevynirwinphysio.com/