From the moment that I started working as a coach in the world of sailing at eighteen, I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in elite sport. I decided that the best way to combine my love of sport with my passion for health and wellbeing, was to embark on a career in osteopathy. Last summer, after four long years of demanding study, I accomplished this goal by receiving my MSc in osteopathy at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine.
During my time at the college I was incredibly lucky to learn from some top osteopaths working in and around sport. It was here that I learnt about the amazing things being done by the Osteopathic Sports Care Association (OSCA) to promote the benefits of osteopathy within sport. The OSCA Mentorship Program, is a fantastic way to not only develop your osteopathic skills and practice within a sporting environment, but ultimately advance the profile of osteopathy within sport. I naturally leapt at the chance to be a part of the program, and was lucky enough to be accepted as an intern for the 2016/17 cohort.
For the last year, I have been exceptionally fortunate to work alongside internationally acclaimed sprint coaches and osteopaths at Speedworks based at the Lee Valley Athletics Stadium in London. Speedworks aspires to take elite and development athletes in a variety of sports including GB and international track and field, premiership football and rugby clubs as well as the GB ladies’ hockey team to help improve their speed and power. To achieve this, both coaches and therapists work closely to develop bespoke training programs and provide individual therapy to get the optimum performance from each of the athletes in their respective fields.
My role as an OSCA intern has been to assist coaches with program management for individual athletes, and the lead osteopaths with clinical assessments, developing personalised injury rehabilitation programs and athlete treatments. It has been a thoroughly eye opening experience and an exceptionally steep learning curve, that has emphasised the importance of being able to communicate efficiently between coaches and other therapists to ensure that an athlete reaches their peak performance.
A large element of being an osteopath at Speedworks has been to provide immediate trackside therapy for the elite and development sprinters. Acute injuries sustained during competition and in a training setting are extremely common when working with athletes striving to sprint at the boundaries of their physiological capabilities. Therefore, as a part of the internship, I accompanied the team abroad to Tenerife where I supported them during a rigorous summer training camp. As my internship rapidly comes to an end, I’m extremely excited to put all I have learnt together by providing trackside support at the upcoming British National Championships.
Enrolling onto the OSCA mentorship program has hands down been the best decision I have made in my quest to fulfil my dream of working as an osteopath in elite sport. It has given me the opportunity to acquire an abundance of skills and knowledge ranging from how to develop an effective rehabilitation program, furthering my osteopathic techniques and testing protocols, whilst delving into the staggeringly complex world of sprinting biomechanics, force-velocity profiling and elite athlete management.
Whilst the OSCA mentorship program is a superb opportunity personally, it has been a joy and privilege to help try and promote osteopathy in sport at colleges and universities around the country. As the end of my internship approaches, I’m really looking forward to continuing with the great work that OSCA has already achieved, and help further place osteopathy on the map as being a valuable and beneficial therapeutic provision in the world of sport.
Thank you to the OSCA and everyone at Speedworks for the opportunities and knowledge that you have kindly given me. A massive thanks to Rosy, who has mentored me throughout the year.
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