5am Wakeups, Hip Surgery, And Trading College Life For The Green And Gold: An Interview With Emily Beazley

Photo of Nottingham and Durham lacrosse players clashing in front of goal
Anna Boyne

Having just recovered from an injury in time to win the BUCS Lacrosse National Championship Final weeks ago, Emily Beazley has truly been through a rollercoaster in the past few months. Yet, with four years’ experience playing Division 1 college lacrosse, a current Senior England squad member, and now a UoN Sports Scholar, Beazley is no stranger to the challenges of sport. Anna Boyne sat down to interview the Notts athlete. 

Emily was recruited to play at the University of Detroit Mercy, Michigan. “No-one can prepare you for division 1 college sport. It’s just something you have to go through,” she says. A typical day at college had her waking up at 5am, training from 6-8:30am, strength and conditioning 9-10:30am, then physiotherapy 11-1pm, and eventually class and labs 2-8:30pm. She’d eat her first proper meal at 9pm, go to bed at 10pm, then wake up and do it all again.  

She didn’t walk for a total of thirteen weeks

Before her most recent spell on the sidelines in Nottingham, Beazley suffered another major injury at Detroit Mercy. She underwent hip surgeries which meant she was in a wheelchair for six weeks, crutches for another five, and she didn’t walk for a total of thirteen weeks.  

Nonetheless, she remains resolutely positive about these tough experiences. Originally, Beazley thought she wanted to become a physician’s assistant, yet undergoing surgery for her hip injuries made her realise physiotherapy was the career she wanted to pursue. Now a Masters student at the University of Nottingham, Emily studies ‘Sport Medicine and Exercise Science’.  

She’s already marking out a career goal: “my lifetime dream is to be a Formula 1 physio. People don’t see F1 drivers as athletes, but they take on so much more than normal people,” Beazley explains. “Being able to support them in their sport is so unique.” 

“I think I changed my mentality when I joined the England squad”

Although Beazley sounds like an American and she has spent most of her life in the States, she’s actually a dual citizen. Both her parents and her entire extended family are English. It was this which prompted her college lacrosse coach to encourage her to trial for the England squad. From there, she became more focused on lacrosse life across the Atlantic: “I think I changed my mentality when I joined the England squad. I saw Detroit Mercy as getting me better for England.” 

When asked how she balanced a college lacrosse schedule with travelling to England for squad training weekends, Beazley replies, “it was hell.” She would train on Thursdays in Detroit, fly to England for training all weekend, then be back in the US for training again on Monday.  

She struggled hugely with her sleep schedule and had to rely instead on fuelling and hydrating herself well. “It was a really big commitment and I had to sacrifice a lot, but I knew that I wasn’t losing out; I was gaining more experience by going.” 

“Here I feel like a student, but in the States, I felt like I was just an athlete”

Being a part of the England squad was crucial to her decision to move to Nottingham. “If I hadn’t started England training, I never would have come to Notts,” she says. She describes her experience as a UoN Ladies Lacrosse player as the perfect balance: “here I feel like a student, but in the States, I felt like I was just an athlete.”  

Emily gushes about the team environment at Notts. Having been a member of so many different teams at varying levels, she knows how difficult it can be to strike the right balance between hard work, competition, supportiveness and ultimately enjoyment.  

The UoN Ladies Lacrosse first team coach, Mike Armstrong, is known for his cheesy sayings and catchlines. One of the many is his determination to make UoN ‘the number one destination for lacrosse in the UK.’  

Off the back of a second consecutive BUCS National Championship title, as well as the second team winning the Trophy this year, Beazley believes Mike has cemented his aspirations: “I think a large part of our success as a team is down to the culture Mike has built,” Emily says. “There’s really no drama within our team. Everyone steps up during training and leaves everything out on the field.”  

She describes the team’s first match of the season against rivals Durham as one of the most enjoyable matches of her career. “It really showed the maturity of the team, even when not everyone got playing time,” she says. “This was the first actual sense of competition, and it was interesting to see how we performed under pressure.” The team’s 8-5 victory over Durham set a precedent for the success they would later enjoy as National Champions.

Five months out during peak season is enough to have sent anyone on a downwards spiral, but not Emily Beazley 

Unfortunately, during a match against local rivals Nottingham Trent, Emily suffered a high grade two ankle sprain, torn ATFL, lots of retinaculum damage and bone bruising. “It would have been easier to have just broken my foot and it would have healed faster too,” she explains. Five months out during peak season is enough to have sent anyone on a downwards spiral, but not Emily Beazley. 

“I knew it was going to be hard but Sinead and all the physios at the clinic had me in everyday and they were using everything that was available to help me. I made sure I was doing as much as I could plus more to be in with a chance to be back for Big BUCS Wednesday [when the National Championship final would be].”  

She continued to turn up to all training sessions, through the rain and cold. Watching so much lacrosse helped improve her game understanding and awareness. “It was my physical self that needed to be back but mentally I had the lacrosse IQ,” she says. 

Emily also attributes much of her mental toughness to the ‘Bone Pile’- two other teammates also out from lacrosse due to injuries. “We kept each other accountable. But we were also able to express how we felt when we didn’t want to put a dampener on our other teammates.”   

Nonetheless, a chunky BUCS gold medal would suggest it was worth going through five months of hard work and rehab to be back in time for the final. Beazley plans on continuing training with England when she leaves UoN at the end of this year. She’s currently shooting for the European Championships in July 2024, and ultimately hopes to play in a World Championships.  

It’s great to see that her time with the Green and Gold has shaped her career in so many ways, especially with so much achieved already and such lofty ambitions. Impact wishes Emily all the best for her future! 

Anna Boyne

Featured image courtesy of Neil Whittingham. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In article images courtesy of Emily Beazley. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to these images.

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