Chiswick physiotherapist Alan Watson helps keep Nic Hamilton on the race track
Chiswick-based physiotherapist Alan Watson has helped Nic Hamilton to achieve his dream and features in a new BBC documentary: Racing with the Hamiltons: Nic in the Driving Seat.
The disabled 19-year old Nic Hamilton dreamed of following in the footsteps of his world champion brother.
Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton’s brother Nicolas, is seven years younger and has cerebral palsy. He got his first taste of motor racing playing computer games with his brother online rather than in real life.
From screen to tracknHowever his success on the computer has now transferred to the racetrack. McLaren has modified his car seat position, pedal and clutchnto help him overcome his difficulties and be competitive. Though nothing has been done to the car to improve its performance.
Competing against the brightest young guns in motorsport, who had all been racing for years, Nic finished 15th (out of 17) in his very first race. As recently as 2008, when Lewis became world champion, Nic was using a wheelchair. Looking back he admits that this was a real mistake: “I don’t know why it all changed but I decided to turn up at school one day without my wheelchair. After that my legs grew stronger day by day.”
Looking at ways to help Nic walk better, the family travelled to America and were advised that a major operation to break both legs was the way forward. The idea was that they could be reset into a better position for walking.
UK to US to W4n“Straight away I knew that I didn’t want this because I felt it was so over the top. I thought there must be another way,” says Nic. Another way came in the form of physiotherapist Alan Watson of Bimal Medical & Sports Rehabilitation Clinic, who treats Nic at this Chiswick-based practice.
With all the stress that racing puts on Nic’s body, Alan works hard to help keep him on the track. He aims to increase the strength and flexibility of Nic’s legs and is always looking for ways to improve his walking.
“We’ve also made some other small changes but the effect has been a massive improvement. Alan likes putting me through pain,” jokes Nic.
Watch Alan Watson treating Nic Hamilton on BBC iPlayer.
Watch the full BBC documentary on BBC iPlayer: Racing with the Hamiltons: Nic in the Driving Seat.n