Tuesday, June 25, 2024

World IBD Day: Squash’s Georgina Kennedy on “debilitating” and “isolating” disease

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Travelling the world for tournaments is particularly difficult, especially when sometimes she might not even make a 30-minute drive without needing the toilet.

And she finds the condition can be “quite isolating”.

“I can’t leave my room, because I’m too anxious about what’s going to happen,” Kennedy said.

“So sharing rooms becomes incredibly stressful.

“If I’m going out for dinner with my friends, I often have to say I can’t go.”

The NHS, external defines ulcerative colitis as a long-term autoimmune condition in which the colon and rectum become inflamed, with symptoms including stomach pains and frequent bowel movements.

A UK Crohn’s and Colitis charity reported that at least one in every 227 people in the UK has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, most often people between the ages of 15 and 25.

Often, those diagnosed can have ‘flare-ups’ when the symptoms are worse for a period of time.

Kennedy, who has 11 PSA Tour titles, says the condition has had a “massive effect” on her career but has never made her want to quit.

“There’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” said Kennedy, who is currently ranked at a career-high sixth in the world.

“There are people who can perform to the best of their abilities and reach the top level with these diseases.”

Other athletes have discussed their experiences of ulcerative colitis, including Olympic swimmer Siobhan Marie O’Connor, who retired because of the condition, and Exeter City footballer Jack Fitzwater.

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