University of Gloucestershire Graduate Linzi Mirams undoubtedly has a great spirit for adventure. She also has a real passion for helping people, in particular using her Sports Therapy knowledge and skills.
What started out as a volunteer programme for her has now changed the course of her life. Linzi takes up the story.
‘I made the decision to apply for a volunteer programme abroad to help gain more experience as a newly qualified Sports Therapist.In January I travelled to Accra, Ghana for 10 weeks to take part in a volunteer Sports Therapy internship. It was without a doubt the most incredible experience I’ve ever had. I had the opportunity to not only work with the Rising Stars of Africa Football Academy but also one of Accra’s premiership football teams, the Hearts of Oak. This was something that I never thought I would be able to do but, because of the opportunities that were available, I was able to broaden my knowledge and gain a lifetime of experience. I attended Hearts of Oak training three times a week and Rising stars of Africa training five times a week. My weekends consisted of pitch-side first aiding the academy matches, and injury assessments at the academy. The Premier League had not yet started whilst I was working with Hearts of Oak, but I got to assist the Physiotherapist at organised friendly matches. During my first week I was given a chance to show what I had learnt at university when I was assigned to a specific player who I assisted in his rehabilitation from a previous injury.’
As well as working with the Hearts of Oak professionals and the youngsters at the Rising Stars of Africa Academy, Linzi coached netball and taught English at local schools.
‘I coached Netball at a local school to help encourage and improve basic Netball skills to young girls. I have played netball most of my life and am very passionate about the sport. I absolutely loved teaching the girls different skills and games that I hope they will always remember. I also taught English at a school called UCC to underprivileged children. This involved helping them to learn and review basic numbers, equations, letters and words. I worked with children on a one-to-one basis. This allowed them to concentrate and have the attention they needed to work on things that they found particularly difficult. I coached netball four times a week with different classes and taught English at UCC once a week.’
‘When I wasn’t working, I took part in many excursions with fellow volunteers in and around Ghana. I visited various places, from waterfalls and mountains in Volta to elephants and safaris in Tamale. I can say I had the full African experience that I will never forget! I was also able to attend Ghana’s 61st Independence Day. There was also a lot to do with fellow volunteers and staff such as salsa and karaoke nights.’
Looking back on her life changing ten-week experience, Linzi said:
‘Being able to work with the Hearts of Oak allowed me to gain valuable experience working with athletes at a premiership level. I now fully understand the physical demands that these players endure and how I as a Sports Therapist can help. Working with the Rising Stars of Africa was a real eye opener, and I have never met such motivated and talented young boys. I felt so proud and privileged to be able to tell everyone that I was working with this amazing academy. They have inspired me to be the best Sports Therapist I can be, and made me remember why I wanted to be a Sports Therapist in the first place.
I made some friends for life and Ghana has become like my second home. It is a place full of different opportunities and I would 100% recommend an experience like this to anyone.
I go back to Ghana in a few months’ time to start a new chapter of my life as the Sports Therapist for the Rising Stars of Africa Academy and I cannot wait!’
Take a look at Linzi’s picture gallery below:
Some of our members may recall Nicola Dinsdale, winner of the Bruce Hobbs Travelling Scholarship in 2010 who also went to Ghana and spent time in Accra.
We wish Linzi all the best – we know she will be a great success.
Linzi has set up a ‘gofund me’ page to help her with the challenges ahead - find out more.
The Rising Star of Ghana has been helping to educate talented young Ghanaians since 2013. Donations will support Linzi to bringing additional knowledge and understanding around injury prevention and rehabilitation within this inspiring community of young footballers in Ghana. The long term plan is to set up a Sports Therapy Department which will be an awesome achievement.
If you can help or know of any companies or individuals who may be able to help Linzi as she starts this journey – please get in touch with her: Twitter Account @LinziMirams