University of Hertfordshire Graduate Laura Clint was the 2017 winner of the inaugural Travelling Scholarship to York University, Toronto. Laura was based at the Gorman Shore Athletic Therapy Clinic, a teaching clinic for students on York’s Athletic Therapy Certificate Programme. Loriann Hynes, Assistant Professor at York University, her husband Chris and two daughters Taylor and Kenzie hosted Laura’s stay. Laura had dropped us a line to let us know how the first part of her trip was going back in September and if you missed it, you can find it at http://www.society-of-sports-therapists.org/index.php/public/article/graduate-member-laura-clint-sends-an-update-from-toronto
Laura is now back from Canada. We caught up with her and chatted to her about her truly memorable trip which clearly just got better and better.
You arrived in time for the start of Football Camp. How did it go? Was there a typical day? What were your main roles?
Camp was very full on but I really enjoyed it! A typical day would involve going into the clinic mid- morning and treating the players. After this it would be lunch, which normally resulted in a trip to Tim Hortons. We would then head over to the stadium and prepare for practice in the evening. This would involve making sure we had enough tape stocked and first aid supplies etc. Taping normally lasted an hour and practice would start around 4 and go till about 8. During practice we would split up and cover different positional groups, supplying water and dealing with any injuries that occurred. After practice, we made sure the ice baths were ready and would assess any injuries that had occurred during the session.
Supporting the York University teams in pre-season training and match preparation was a fantastic opportunity at the start of your Sports Therapy journey. What did you learn and was there something that seemed to be easier in theory than in practice?
I learnt a lot! The biggest learning curve was the high demand for taping, sometimes in a relatively short space of time. I also got used to the fast pace of game days and being aware of the players on the field but also the constant interchange and monitoring players as they came on and off.
So how was your taping?
I think my taping definitely improved throughout my time at York. It took me a bit of time to get used to the different types and styles of taping they used, but I got the hang of it in the end and certainly got a lot of practise with the football players
What types of injuries did you see in the main?
During camp there were a few dislocations and once games started there was a variety of different ankle, upper body and head injuries.
You did some baseline testing with the football team for the Concussion Research Project with York University and UNC Chapel Hill. Can you tell us about the project and what it involved?
My main involvement with the project was helping out with the baseline testing of all the football and hockey players. This involved the players coming into the clinic and going through a series of tests including, memory, balance and eye tests. Recording the baseline measurements accurately was obviously an important part of the study as these would be needed for comparison should a concussion occur. By the end of the baseline testing, I was very confident with the whole testing procedure and will definitely implement it with teams I work with in the future.
How did you find it working with the student Athletic Therapists?
I really enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the students at York. I found it interesting learning how their course worked and being able to compare it to the UK. A big element for Athletic Therapy in Canada is placements right from the outset; this is the best way to gain experience and confidence in a variety of areas and sports. I was able to exchange ideas with the students, I learnt from them and hopefully I was able to help them out too.
What was the best piece of advice you received while working with the staff within the Gorman Shore Athletic Therapy Clinic?
Believe in yourself and be confident with what you are doing.
You had a flying visit to Canada Ballet - How was it?
I really enjoyed my morning at the ballet, as having mainly had experience in contact sports, it was a completely new experience for me. The ballet dancers were very in tune with their bodies and were very specific with their requests for treatment. Testing their range of motion was very different to contact athletes. I was also lucky enough to watch one of their rehearsals which was amazing.
You were very busy last time we spoke to you and just had enough time to go see a Canadian Football League game and a visit to Niagara falls. Were you able to see any other sights since then?
After the trip to the ballet I got some time to explore Toronto, I went to Ripleys Aquarium and the CN tower. It was great to see the city from a different perspective.
Loriann also took me to a Toronto Blue Jays game, this was a definite highlight of my trip! The therapists for the Blue Jays gave us field passes to watch the batting practice beforehand and I was able to have a chat to them. I was particularly interested in how they manage the players through a very hectic schedule. I was very grateful when George gave me an official ball and then I managed to catch a second one. A particular highlight was managing to sneak into the dugout for a quick photo! The Rogers Centre is an awesome stadium so overall it was a really great evening.
On a day off Loriann took me to explore Oakville where they lived. Down by the water was beautiful and a nice place to relax. This was followed by a shopping trip that resulted in me having to buy a second suitcase at the airport. I finished my trip off by going to a local concert with Chris and Loriann which was a really great way to end an amazing trip.
How do you feel this experience has complemented your degree experience?
It has vastly improved my confidence as I was able to put into practice what I learned from my degree. It was very interesting to see the contrast but also the similarities in the courses and learn from each other. University sport in Canada is at a much higher level compared to the UK, this again benefited me as it was like working in a professional set up.
What do you miss the most now that you’re back from Canada?
I miss being part of the team of therapists and getting to go practice everyday.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment I am doing some part time work with football and rugby teams. I would love to go back to Canada in the near future too!
What advice would you give to current 3rd year students about applying for the scholarship?
Definitely go for it, it’s an experience I will never forget and has helped me develop as a therapist. It gave me the opportunity to meet people that I know I will stay in contact with for a long time. An opportunity to experience new sports, places and broaden your mind as a Sports Therapist is not one to be missed.
Best moment - Batting practice at Blue Jays and sneaking into the dugout
Best food - That’s a hard one, I really liked Poutine… but Chris also made me a very good T bone steak.
Favourite Canadian expression - “eh?”
Three words to describe your trip - An unforgettable experience
Favourite sightseeing event - Niagara Falls
A sport you would like to work with again - I really enjoyed working with the football team, I would also like to get the opportunity to work with Ice hockey.
Before we finish can I just thank a few people ………..
Firstly thank you to Professor Graham Smith and the Society for offering me the opportunity to go to Canada.
Tracy, James, and Jo at the Gorman Shore Clinic - thank you for welcoming me into the clinic and for always being happy to help out or answer any questions I had. Also thank you to the football players and coaches for letting me be part of the team, I loved the opportunity to help you out and experience the football programme.
Val, Elizabeth, Maks, Billy, Angela and Gianluca - thank you for making my experience even better, getting each other through the long days in camp. I hope I was able to teach you guys a bit about Sports Therapy and I definitely took a lot away from you. I will miss our daily Tim Horton Trips.
Britt, you were just the best mentor. I will never forget the help and support you provided me throughout my stay. I know I will be a much better therapist as a result of your guidance.
Finally a massive thank you to Loriann, Chris, Taylor and Kenzie for welcoming me into their house and making me feel at home straight away. They went above and beyond to help me out and make sure I had the best experience possible. An extra thank you to Loriann for the amazing support you provided me. I will be back to visit soon!!
Professor Graham Smith, Chairman of the Society of Sports Therapists also added his thanks:
"This was the first time that we have collaborated with York University and we have to thank all of the staff and students who were involved in giving Laura the amazing experience that she seems to have had. The Society always feels privileged to be able to offer such opportunities to its new Graduate Members and as such, I would personally like to thank everyone concerned for making it happen. Laura was an outstanding ambassador for The Society and we are not only proud of her achievements but pleased that she has had an outstanding experience."