The nominee chosen by the judging panel to receive the title University of Hertfordshire Alumnus of the Year 2017 was Nicki Combarro.
Excerpt from her nomination:
'Since graduating Nicki has achieved pretty much everything there is to achieve as a sports physiotherapist, including being a Team GB HQ physio in Rio 2016 and London 2012.'
Nicki was also the Team England physiotherapist for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014, Delhi 2010, Melbourne 2006 and Manchester 2002. She was also part of the physiotherapy team supporting Team GB at the Winter and Summer World University Games.
Most recently Nicki has just been unveiled as chief physiotherapist for Team GB for the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang 2018 - the first time she will be lead physiotherapist at Olympic level. At the end of 2011 Nicki was invited to start planning the medical provision required by Team GB for their preparation camp in June 2012, immediately prior to the start of the Olympics.
Her work as part of the HQ staff ensured that the athletes had access to physiotherapy, sports massage, medical support, and strength and conditioning support. During the Games themselves she was a Physio Games Maker and was part of the medical support team at the Velodrome and BMX track.
Her role meant that she was stationed in the middle of the track with the doctors and paramedics, ready to support in the case of any Team GB injuries. As recognition of her role, Nicki was invited to attend the athletes’ parade in London as part of Team GB.
Alongside this she also demonstrated significant entrepreneurialism by setting up the hugely successful Bodybalance Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, which allowed her to support the Hertfordshire Talented Athlete Programme, Herts Mavericks Netball and England Golf, to name a few.
The business continues to operate out of the Herts Sports Village, providing support to our students and those connected to Performance Hertfordshire. Nicki is the real embodiment of both our graduate attributes and our values.
Often the healthcare professionals who graduate from the University of Hertfordshire remain behind the scenes and their hard work and dedication go unrecognised. However, the dedication that Nicki has shown to developing and supporting athletes in Hertfordshire and the UK is certainly deserving of our recognition as Alumnus of the Year.