Accrington Stanley’s club doctor Joyce Watson stepped into the spotlight last night after winning a high profile award.
Dr Watson picked up the Fabrice Muamba Award for Outstanding Service to Football Medicine and Science at the MBNA North West Football Awards at Lancashire Cricket Club.
The long serving member of Stanley staff, who has been involved at the Wham Stadium for the past 15 years, was nominated alongside Dr Thomas Little of Preston North End and Kathryn Wise from Liverpool Ladies.
The award was presented to Joyce by Fabrice Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field in an FA Cup tie between Tottenham Hotspur and Bolton back in 2012.
“It’s a real honour to even be considered and to win it on behalf of an amazing club is quite special really,” said Joyce.
“There’s a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes in football and I don’t think many people realise the extent of that. We do thousands of hours of education, we work with the clubs to improve equipment and provision and there’s a lot of time between games goes into making these things happen.
“It was amazing to have the award presented by Fabrice himself. To meet an incredible gentleman like him is an honour and knowing what he’s gone through, it’s amazing to be standing there with him.
“Off the back of what happened to Fabrice, our education and training has improved so that if ever a situation like that occurs again we can deal with it. In that way some good has come out of what happened and it’s made the football field a safer place to be since the provision of defibrillators which were brought in after that event.”
Joyce’s win made it a double celebration for Stanley after Billy Kee won the public vote to pick up the League Two Player of the Year award.
Reds boss John Coleman missed out in the Manager of the Year category, with Nick Cushing of Manchester City Women picking up the award.