International travel can often be part of a sports therapist’s role and Hartpury College 3rd year Sports Therapy students Sophie Kalpin, Hazel Fowmes and Kirsten Wing have enjoyed some great early experience, undertaking their placements with teams across the globe.
For Senior Lecturer Hollie Bailey, placements are an integral part of the programme. She said:
“We think it is important to encourage and support our students to gain as much experience in different sports and cultures,” and Lecturer and year tutor Sarah Sandford added: “It has been refreshing to see the change in the students from spending an extended period of time on placement and how they have developed as therapists”.
Here’s just a little taste of where and how the students spent their time
Sophie Kalpin enjoys life with the Eastern Illinois Panthers Football Team – (Eastern Illinois University) USA
“I was lucky enough to be offered a month long placement by Hartpury College with the Eastern Illinois Panthers in the USA. It was amazing to be working with an American football team. I was able to get involved with managing various injuries, developing rehab programmes, treatments and training programmes. I was able to work both pitch side and in a clinical setting. It seemed that in the USA they have a strong focus on using electrotherapy compared to the UK.
A highlight for me was working pitch side for their first game of the season, which they won! Being able to do my placement in another county and with a different sport has developed my sports therapy skills and knowledge massively. In addition, being able to do my placement abroad with a sport that I was not familiar with allowed me to apply the knowledge I had already learned and the skills I had developed in a new setting”.
Competition Experience for Hazel Fowmes in Sweden
‘I completed my placement with Team Bermuda, part of Bermuda Island Games Association when they competed in Gotland, Sweden, in the NatWest Island Games over the summer. I loved the whole experience of the games! Everyone was so friendly and it was nice to feel part of the team and be a part of all their achievements. For me it was good to experience being courtside during the games as well as in clinic. I spent most of my time with the volleyball team, which was a different sport that I have not really watched before.
It was interesting to see what planning is involved with travelling with a team aboard, and the additional responsibilities therapists have. It was an amazing experience; I encourage any up and coming Sports Therapists to go out of their way to experience placements in a different country. Well worth it!
Kirsten Wing Experiences Real Team Work with Cell C Sharks in South Africa
I was fortunate enough this summer to go to Kings Park on the Eastern Coast of South Africa, which plays host to the Cell C Sharks. I have spent two placement weeks with the medical team. I worked within a dynamic team of professionals from strength and conditioners massage therapists, biokineticists, physiotherapists and a sports doctor where I realised just how dynamic and well-versed therapists need to be in an interactive and cohesive medical team. I found the work of the biokineticists in particular, interesting and challenging, as the profession isn’t as common in the U.K. With the permission of Dr. Alan Kourie, Deane my supervisor allowed me to take part in the ‘complete injury rehab’ process where I was allowed to move with a high profile player from physiotherapy sessions, to clearance by the Doctor, out into the gym with the conditioners and finally, out to the field with the biokineticists and the coaches.
Through this, I witnessed how successful “keeping it simple and correct” can be: too often, the basic fundamental skills and approaches are overshadowed by new modalities and techniques. The vibrant and approachable practitioners I met in South Africa certainly have had a profound effect on my approach to successfully simplifying the approach to injury.