Enter the maze

Getting Billy Whizz playing Rugby again

A Rugby ball with the flags of the 2007 world cup nations

It looked like a disaster before it had even started for England. The 2007 Rugby Union World Cup campaign was to be without talismanic game winner Jonny Wilkinson. He had injured his ankle in training and was out for the duration. He missed the early games including the thrashing by South Africa. Then things got worse still. During that game, star full back Jason Robinson was stretchered off with a hamstring injury. As he had announced he would retire at the end of the competition the commentators were sure that his career was over and England hadn't a hope.

Then something remarkable happened. Jonny Wilkinson was back playing in the next game and "Billy Whizz" Jason Robinson was back, apparently fine, for the quarter final. Suddenly a team of losers, "the worst team ever" according to the papers, were heading for the top of the world. How had the turn-around happened? How come those key players recovered so quickly from injury? Well in part it was because they had technology that hadn't been available for previous campaigns - computer technology that has revolutionised the treatment of sports injuries. Unlike in the "old" days when either a player was shipped home or the team medics were on their own, this time the injuries were digitally scanned and could be examined in minute detail remotely by the best medical experts, where ever they happened to be. They could ensure their treatment was so good that injuries that used to take weeks to recover from was sorted out in the space of only a couple of missed games. That, together with his own determination, meant the difference between quick recovery and retirement from the game for Robinson. Even though they eventually lost to a brilliant South African team in the final, for England it meant a team of heroes.

Read more about the computer science behind remote medical technology.