Olympic sportsman receives honour

Bridgnorth-born Craig was presented with the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a graduation ceremony at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre today (Friday, 9 September 2011).

The award was made by the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure in recognition of Craig’s significant contribution to the sport of hockey.

Craig suffered a near fatal injury in 2001 when he was hit in the throat by an opposing player’s stick while representing England.

He said: “It was entirely unexpected when the University of Wolverhampton invited me to receive an Honorary Degree and I am absolutely privileged and delighted to accept it. I am grateful to all those friends, colleagues and family who have helped and supported me throughout my career as a player and now as a coach.”

Craig Parnham was born in Bridgnorth, Shropshire in 1973. Following in his father’s footsteps, Craig played for the local cricket and hockey clubs, winning a number of league and cup titles. He earned his first Great Britain cap in January 2000, followed by first England cap in July 2001. He remains the only player to captain his country on their debut.

Craig will perhaps be mostly remembered for the near fatal injury he sustained whilst playing for England in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Kuala Lumpur on 6 August 2001 - when he was caught in the throat by an opposing player’s stick. The horrific incident meant his larynx needed rebuilding, but he made a remarkable recovery and returned to the England side just four months later, and to Kuala Lumpur to lead England at the World Cup.

He played his last international match in the 2004 Olympics having represented England 51 times and Great Britain 64 times. Craig played in the 2000 Champions Trophy, 2002 World Cup and Commonwealth Games, 2003 European Cup, and 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Upon retirement from playing, he embarked on a coaching career. His Under 21 men’s team won the European Trophy in 2006. In 2007, Craig joined the coaching staff for the England and Great Britain women’s squad, returning to the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. In the past three years, England has achieved podium finishes in each of its major competitions.

In 2009, Craig was selected to join the inaugural UK Sport Elite Coach Apprentice Programme from which he is due to graduate this year. He is also due to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Elite Coaching from the University of Central Lancashire.

Craig continues to work with the GB squad that is preparing for the London 2012 Olympics.

The University’s graduation ceremonies are being held at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from Thursday, 1 September to Friday 9 September 2011.

ENDS

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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