Katie trades horses for hockey and scores international call-up

Katie Robertson (in white) in action.
Katie Robertson (in white) in action.

A young elite athlete, who survived a horrific showjumping accident, is preparing to compete for Scotland – after switching to hockey.

Katie Robertson, of Freuchie, was in the early stages of an equestrian career which had seen her selected to compete for Great Britain in European competition, when a terrifying fall during a show in Wales saw her knocked unconscious for 10 minutes and rushed to hospital.

Aged just 14 at the time, the former Kilgraston School pupil had to be removed from the arena out cold on a spinal board having broken her shoulder and collar bone.

While she never regained the confidence to ride competitively, Katie’s decision to turn her attention to hockey yielded positive results.

Quickly progressing through the school ranks as a teenager, she made the Scotland Under-18 team aged 16 and is now competing at full international level.

The 20-year-old BSc Sport and Psychology student from Abertay University said she refused to let the 2010 fall from her horse, Atlantic Swift, put her off pursuing a career in sport.

“I did ride a couple of times after that but I didn’t have the confidence to really go for it,” she said. “I took up hockey because I wanted something to fill up my time and it has just gone on from there.

“We are training just now for World League 3 in Brussels in June and, if we reach the quarter-final stages, then we qualify for the World Cup in the London next year.

“It is such an honour to play for your country and I have a tear in my eye every time I pull on the jersey and the national anthem is playing.”

Third year student Katie, who attended Falkland Primary, is on Abertay’s Elite Athlete Development Programme and is completing her course part-time to allow additional training time for both club and country.

After graduating, the Grove Menzieshill player, who trains at Dundee International Sports Complex, hopes to stay in sport both as a competitor and a coach.

She added: “The support I have had at Abertay has been incredible and it is fantastic to be surrounded by so many talented staff and students.”

Abertay currently has 23 sports clubs with over 450 members. Its Elite Athlete Development Programme provides strength and conditioning programmes, financial support, lifestyle management and, where necessary, academic flexibility.