Physio’s $5000 prize for research project

WINNING RESEARCH: Naomi Gill celebrates her success with Continence Foundation Australia president Michael Murray.

WINNING RESEARCH: Naomi Gill celebrates her success with Continence Foundation Australia president Michael Murray.

Naracoorte and Bordertown physiotherapist Naomi Gill has received a $5000 funding prize for a research project.

Ms Gill took home the Barry Cahill Travel Scholarship for the “best paper prize” at the National Conference on Incontinence in Sydney.

Ms Gill’s research paper ‘The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence in adult Netball Players in South Australia’ has discovered that around 30% of women playing netball experience urinary incontinence, as well as nearly 50% of women who have had children. Netball, one of Australia’s most popular sport is played by over 20 million women every year. Most of these women manage their own symptoms, with only 8% reporting them to a health professional. Incontinence is able to be cured or significantly helped with treatment by Women’s Health and Continence Physiotherapists such as Ms Gill.

“Netball is an activity with high activity levels, and the pelvic floor muscle needs to be trained to withstand the forces generated in running, jumping and quick stops that are common in netball,” Ms Gill said. 

According to her research, women are more likely to use urinary pads than seek treatment with specific pelvic floor exercises with 41% using pads and only 31% carrying out the exercises.

“To have carried out a study in a regional area and have that recognised is great, as most of the research had happened in large hospitals or academic institutions” Ms Gill said.

“I am so thankful to the nine KNT netball clubs who allowed me to visit and took part.” 

The Continence Foundation of Australia CEO Rowan Cockerell expressed delight at Ms Gill’s award, as it is the first that looks at this issue in women playing netball.

“It has been our great pleasure to support the early career of Naomi through a 2014 scholarship to attend the National Conference in Cairns and now with the Barry Cahill Travel Scholarship,” said Mr Cockerell.

“Naomi has already made a great contribution to the lives of the 5 million Australians currently living with incontinence and we wish her all the best for what is shaping up to be a brilliant career.”

One in four people aged 15 years or over are classified as incontinent, with 80% of those being women.

“Women who experience urinary incontinence may exclude themselves from sport. We decided to see if incontinence affected Netball players and look at how we can help,” Ms Gill said.

Any women who wish to have a private discussion about urinary incontinence are able to call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 330 066.