Hull KR team doctor Dr Gemma Phillips has been selected by Tony Adams for the RFL President’s award, for her service to the sport over the past year.
Dr Phillips is a member of the RFL’s Clinical Advisory Group, which consists of some of the sport’s leading medical experts, set up to help the restart of rugby league in the midst of the unprecedented public health crisis resulting from COVID-19.
Throughout the pandemic Dr Phillips has been at the forefront of work in Rugby League to the shaping and then application of the Government guidance for the sport as preparations have been made for the safe return to training and playing at all levels.
In her role as the RFL Covid Medical Officer, she has represented the sport at the highest level in Government-led medical groups with experts from a range of sports. This vital work has been exceptionally demanding, requiring detailed analysis over very long hours which has extended far beyond the day-to-day role of Dr Phillips and her fellow members of the Clinical Advisory Group.
Tony Adams MBE, who is nearing the end of his year as the RFL President, said: “In a unique and distressing period for all of us, the importance of our medical practitioners has never been more apparent.
“So we should begin by noting that the outstanding work that Gemma has done for the sport of Rugby League over recent months has come alongside her work for the NHS.
“We all know the challenges that have been presented to sport by the pandemic. The route back to playing professional sport has at times seemed unbelievably complicated and difficult.
“Behind the headlines, Gemma has made a massive contribution to getting Rugby League restarted. She knows and loves the sport through her work at Hull KR and with the England and Great Britain teams, and her expertise and great personal commitment to players and their welfare has been second-to-none.
“She has worked quietly and relentlessly for the sport in one of its most challenging times. I am proud and delighted to present Dr Gemma Phillips with my RFL President’s Award.”
Gemma Phillips, who is from Cardiff, graduated from the University of Loughborough; studied medicine at the University of Manchester; and on qualifying as a doctor also completed an MSc at the University of Leeds.
Since 2018 Dr Phillips has been the team doctor at Betfred Super League club Hull KR.
She was employed by the England Performance Unit in 2018 as Team Doctor with the England Knights as they prepared to tour Papua New Guinea. In 2019 she toured with the England Men’s squad to the World Cup of Nines in Sydney, followed by sharing the role of Team Doctor to the Great Britain squad on their tour of New Zealand and PNG.
Jamie Peacock MBE, who was the Tour Manager for England and Great Britain, said: “Throughout our preparations and then on the tour itself, Gemma was hard-working and diligent, and had an excellent rapport with the players. We all appreciated her down to earth style and she was valued for her hard work and contributions to the day to day running of the team, as well as her excellent medical knowledge.”
Dr Phillips becomes the third winner of the RFL President’s award, following the awards to Reece Lyne in December, for his mentoring work with young offenders, and to Castleford and England women’s Lindsay Anfield in May 2019, in recognition for her commitment to coaching excellence and inspiring the next generation.
Tony Adams is due to be succeeded as RFL president by Clare Balding later this month.