Already over half way through her stay in Canada at the University of Windsor, we caught up with Danielle Turnbull, the 2018 winner of The Society of Sports University of Windsor Student Travelling Scholarship to see how her award winning trip is going. The Leeds Beckett Graduate Sports Therapist is being hosted by Athletic Therapist Kathy Harvie and husband John Purcell, the line backers Football Coach at the university.
Where have you spent most of your time during this first part of your stay?
I have mainly been based within the Athletic Therapy department at the University of Windsor. The clinic has three athletic therapists Dave, Adam and Natalie.
How would you describe the clinic?
It’s a brilliant place to work. It is extremely friendly and I have met so many great people including the Athletic trainers who surprised me with a Tim Hortons* and 'Tim bits' because they said it is something everyone must try which was really nice and made me feel like part of the team. I would say it's a dynamic environment. There is always something to do or someone to treat so it has kept me very busy and has allowed me to put into practice everything I have been taught at Leeds Beckett University, as well as allowing me to identify areas that I can strengthen to become a better Sport therapist, Finally I would say it is very rewarding. As a result of the volume of people we see each day, I get to follow up with the same people the next day and I am able to see whether the treatment was effective.
Football Training Camp was just getting underway as you arrived- have you been involved?
Yes, I have mainly been based with the football team which initially consisted of around 106 players during training camp. Selections are then made, but even after cuts the team was still 87 players strong. Football camp can be described in one word – Busy
Football (grid iron style) is a new sport to me and it took me a few days to get to grips with calling UK football soccer. I'm slowly beginning to understand positions and how tactical the game is. A lot of the players described the game like chess as plays are carefully considered.
Can you give us a brief glimpse into your day?
Well, a typical day starts at 7.30am and ends around 6pm. It normally starts with taping ankles, something I had to get good at very quickly as a lot of players wanted this done. My first tape job wasn't the best but five days later it's improved dramatically although it still isn't quite perfect.
There are also a lot of blisters and turf burns which need dealing with in the mornings before practice. After taping had finished I would prepare for a 3 hour long practice – this initially took place every day. The sun adds a new aspect to the job so it was important to be aware of the signs of heat stroke and have a plan of action if one of the players was taken ill. To help prevent heat issues the Athletic Trainers and I would encourage water intake throughout the practice. Players were also advised to go into the shade during breaks and they had the option to use ice towels.
What injuries have you seen most when working with the football players?
I have seen lots of injuries, however the most common have been ankle sprains, hamstring strains, concussions, contusions to name a few. Fortunately, no bones broken as yet!
It has also been great to work with Kathy Harvie. Kathy has been coming into the clinic and we have been working together which has been fun. We have been looking at the cause of many injuries to help athletes in the long term and make it through training camp which has helped improve my treatment of many of the injuries I have seen.
Have you had a chance to visit anywhere else?
I have been to the St Clair College Athletic Therapy Clinic and I will be returning for a couple of days soon, which I am excited about. Kim Stroesser, who manages Athletic Therapy at the College, is a great therapist and I am already learning lots from her experience.
The clinic is a little smaller than the university clinic but it has excellent facilities. I have seen meniscal tears, diagnosed sciatica and treated a runner with a muscle strain. In such a short period of time I have seen and treated so much, which is allowing me to apply myself. After my first day at the clinic I attended a ‘soccer’ match which was my first taste of being pitch side. Luckily there were no injuries so I didn’t have to run on the pitch.
What has been the most fun so far?
I would say travelling with the university football team, known as the Lancers, to play the Waterloo Warriors from the University of Waterloo. Although the Lancers didn't win it was a great game to watch and I got to put my pitch side skills to the test in a more intense setting with over 1000 spectators. I was a little nervous but as the game went on, I eased into it. This time I got to run onto the pitch. I am looking forward to the next game which is the team’s homecoming which will be exciting.
Have you had a chance to spend time with other sports?
I have primarily been with football but I have also worked with soccer and treated some of the girls from the university basketball and volleyball teams.
So how has life been outside of the clinic?
It hasn't been all work although I have been very busy. Kathy and I have been shopping and I have had the most amazing food! The BBQ has been out most nights and I have been amazed by the food that is cooked on it. My favourite has been the cauliflower! Not your typical BBQ dish. John and Kathy also have got me addicted to oh Henrys (a chocolate bar).
Sam’s has been a personal favourite restaurant so far and I'm sure the previous Travelling Scholarship winners would agree. Kathy and John are celebrities in there which is really cool. I have also been out with the Athletic Trainers and they have taken me out for food, and to find some English tea which I haven't missed too much as John makes lattes every morning which are very good.
What are you looking forward to in the coming weeks?
Lots more of what I have been doing but I am also looking forward to seeing some hockey, and hopefully meeting with the university hockey coach.
Danielle is an accomplished young ice hockey player having represented British Universities.
Judging by her stay so far, the next few weeks promise to be just as exciting.
*Tim Horton was a former Canadian Ice hockey player who founded this fast food restaurant chain known for its coffee and donuts. Horton died in a car accident in 1974