Players, staff and fans at Lincoln City FCs are currently enjoying both a fantastic run in the FA Cup and also life at the top of the National League. Someone sharing in that success is Society Member Mike Hine, who completed an MSc Sports Therapy at London Metropolitan University (LMU) and is now Head of Sports Science and Medicine at the club.
Recognising the success of this former student , Aldo Lena, a Lecturer in Sports Therapy at LMU took the opportunity of chatting to Mike about life in a professional football club, the international opportunity that came his way through the Society, and his sports therapy journey so far.
As a busy Sports Therapist with a high degree of responsibility can you tell us about your Sports Therapy journey so far?
Towards the end of my MSc Studies I completed 3 months at Southend United FC as Sports Massage Therapist Intern learning from the Head Therapist, Strength and Conditioning coaches and Sports Scientists. It was a great environment that allows multi-disciplinary learning and development.
On graduating from London Met in 2013, I began working part time in non-league football for Concord Rangers competing in the Conference South. The Concord Rangers role was a quick learning experience, the sort of role I would encourage for new graduates to target. At the same time, I started my own business offering a mobile service as well as operating from a gym treatment room. Clientele has built up over the years and 'word of mouth' really can enhance your reputation.
Additional jobs that I undertook alongside my 3 seasons at Concord Rangers FC included lead roles working in academy rugby, the Essex county FA, West Ham Ladies FC. In addition to the lead roles, the importance of continued supervised work proved to be valuable in my season at Stevenage FC, which came 2 years after I graduated as a Sports Therapist. I felt the need to develop myself further by working within a full time football environment to understand the demands and to hopefully go on to work in such a role. This was an unpaid role that would involve 3 hours of travelling per day, 2-3 days per week, which may sound bizarre but the season I spent as assistant first team therapist prepared me perfectly for my next career step.
Before working for Lincoln City FC, you went to work with a football club in Sweden. How did this opportunity come about and how did you find the experience?
An opportunity to work in Sweden came about last summer when The Society of Sports Therapists advertised a role working full time as Head Therapist for Ytterhogdal IK football club competing in Division 3.
Being a member of the SST gave me the opportunity to apply and get this amazing role. This unforgettable experience was a big decision, giving up several part time jobs and losing a client base that had taken over 3 years to build up. Working aboard was brilliant. Fortunately there was not a language barrier and the Swedish locals were fluent in English and it is certainly a country I could see myself working in again one day.
Lincoln City FC is doing very well in the FA Cup. Tell us something about how your everyday routine is and what are your responsibilities as a Sports Therapist?
My daily routine at Lincoln involves planning the team prehab sessions to then be delivered before training. Injured players report before the rest of the squad for their morning assessment which allows us to monitor the progress of the injured structure and decide on whether the player is ready to participate in training or progress onto the next stages of their rehab. A meeting with the manager then allows me to present the morning findings across to the management team, with thoughts on upcoming fixtures corresponding with players' availability for selection.
While the team are training I will monitor the injured players in the gym and 'put them through their paces' alongside our student intern sports therapy and sports science staff. After the gym based session, the players will then go through the passive modalities like massage, mobilisations, contrast therapy, and complex applications. Any players suffering issues during the team training session will report into me after the session for the required advice and protocols. Once the players have left the building SOAP notes are completed and discussions with all the sports therapy/science staff ensues, to review the day and plan the following day's session.
The club is on the verge of bigger and better things. The league table does not lie, we are pushing for a promotion back into the football league and our FA Cup run has been well publicised. The day out at Portman Road against Ipswich in front of 16,000 was a nervy experience but gave me a taste of the big stage, something I aspire to work in later in my career. Several fixtures have been televised on either BBC or BT Sport, The club has turned their financial trouble around as a result of TV revenue, cup bonuses and home crowds of up to 10,000 which has given us a platform to target promotion.
I hope my role at the club helps support a league winning season for Lincoln City FC.
How did MSc Sports Therapy degree at London Metropolitan University help you to achieve your goals and get where you are now?
I believe that the MSc at London Met can prime a therapist to quickly adapt and work in sporting environments, whereas other medical qualifications won't be able to prepare a therapist for such a position. Learning and assessments are all based on sporting scenarios and differing variables in these sports to prepare you for real world settings.
My studies at London Met included gender specific and age-related differentials in injuries and procedures of assessment and management which enabled my roles outside of men's football to be undertaken successfully.
The importance of 'referring on' during appropriate injury scenarios was emphasised during my studies at London Met, which has prompted me to develop close links with our club doctor, chiropractors, podiatrists, orthotics specialists, imaging centres, orthopaedic surgeons and other professional clubs higher up the league system. These resources are vital in running a smooth department, along with quick and efficient processes to provide the best possible care for the players.
Our thanks to Aldo and Mike for a great interview. Once again Mike has shown that with determination, desire and the will to succeed, you can achieve your goals and enjoy success.
Best wishes to Mike and Lincoln both in the next round of the FA Cup against Burnley and for the rest of the season.
Image 2 Source: Thank you to CameraSport for permission to use: camerasport.photoshelter.com/