Physiotherapist Chris Jenkins has recently come back from the Rugby World Cup in Japan, a long term ambition
Some people say ‘that’s not a job – watching rugby from the side of a field’ or ‘you are living the dream’– it makes me laugh.
In reality, I am on the side of the field ready to deal with any injury – from mild to life-changing, and not watching like a fan.
When considering a career in sport, graduates need to understand the long journey that others have taken to get to this point, the big picture skill set required and the inevitable personal sacrifices.
My advice is to read widely; you need to volunteer and network and utilise mentors where possible.
I am on the side of the field ready to deal with any injury from mild to life-changing
You must be willing to travel and take opportunities.
Put the time in – on occasion missed weddings and family birthdays happen, the sacrifice is real.
Along with understanding the physical demands of the sport, you need to understand the importance of player welfare and mental health.
I have been part of the process, where professional rugby players have retired following recurrent concussions or serious injuries. This is challenging for all involved, and you must be resilient to deal with this.
Multiple stakeholders are involved, and you may be the athlete’s only medical advocate – therefore your communication needs to be clear to all.
Understand your duties as a Health and Care Professions Council registered physiotherapist.
I witnessed the huge UK media storm around the Bloodgate rugby incident in 2009. This was hugely distressing for the physio involved and the educational pieces after this were influential in my thinking and reasoning.
The biopsychosocial aspects of decision-making in sport are becoming more challenging, but if you love what you do, stay current, and keep talking to your peers, it is worth it!
- Chris Jenkins is head physiotherapist working with Russia Rugby and in private practice based in Newport, Wales
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