Jaws 3: Kate Walsh returns to thank Royal London hospital staff

GB Olympic hockey captain Kate Walsh returned to the Royal London Hospital today to thank surgeons and staff where she was treated for a broken jaw soon after the Games opened.

She was injured on the field four minutes from the end of a match in which her team beat Japan 4-0 when she was hit with a stick while making a tackle.

Kate had a complex triple-fracture operation at the Royal London on July 31, when three metal plates were inserted into her face—so she could continue playing during the Games.

“To hear the surgeons tell me I could play again was a miracle,” said Kate. “I thought that was it for me—no more Olympics.

“But once the team and I knew I was coming back, it was business as usual.”

Kate added: “Had I been injured abroad, I just don’t think I would have gone back to play so quickly.”

Tuesday’s visit was to thank surgeons and hospital staff and present them with autographed T-shirts.

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The injury was a complex three-part fracture, explained surgeon Simon Holmes.

“This fracture should have put her out of action for a month,” he said. “It required three plates, 12 screws, and one temporary wire.

“It’s testament to Kate that it didn’t put her out of the Olympics—the girl has true grit.”

Kate’s determination to get back onto the pitch took surgeons by surprise.

Consultant Nayeem Ali admitted: “We thought Kate was crazy when told us she wanted to go out and play again.

“But it means so much to us—her recovery is thanks to the nurses, anaesthetists and staff on the wards and in the operating theatre.”

The Royal London’s role during the Games was a designated hospital for 20,000 media and Olympic team members requiring trauma care such as Kate Walsh.

Kate, at 28, had 130 caps for England and 60 for Great Britain and was twice a winner of the Hockey Writers Club UK ‘Player of the Year.’

She represented Britain at the 2000 Sidney and 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as two World Cups, three European Cups and two Commonwealth Games.

But she came to grief at London 2012 in the opening match against Japan with her broken jaw.

The 32-year-old from Manchester had to miss two matches, but was back for the penultimate group game with her team which only narrowly missed beating China by a single goal.