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Sports Therapy at Birmingham City University Gets Off To a Flying Start

The academic end of year celebrations have a special meaning for the Sports Therapy staff and students at Birmingham City University (BCU) as it marks the completion of the very first year of the Sports Therapy BSc (Hons) degree programme, accredited by The Society of Sports Therapists. 

Chelsea Papworth, a Lecturer on the Sports Therapy degree course, together with some of the BCU students reflect back upon some of the successes of the programme so far and on the fantastic opportunities that were available for the first year students to acquire valuable experience so early into the course:

Kidderminster Harriers Football Club

Pitch side responsibilities

Kidderminster Harriers FC Academy has taken on seven of our students to assist their Academy Sports Therapist with pitch side duties throughout the season. Jack Ciuro was one of the students who applied for the role:

“The Kidderminster Harriers FC pitch side first aid placement has been great. It has helped me to gain excellent experience with injured players, develop my understanding of how to watch the game to spot injuries (and any other issues on pitch) and how to handle a variety of situations that are within the scope of my practice. It has been a pleasure to observe how the Academy Sports Therapist assesses and treats players with a variety of injuries and it has allowed me to gain a basic understanding of rehabilitation in preparation for level 5.”

First Team Pre-Season Screening

On June 25th, eight students were able to assist with the pre-season screening of Kidderminster Harriers 1st team. The Harriers joined BCU for their first day back and were put through their paces in various fitness tests and screening protocols. The team also participated in Nutrition workshops, specifically designed for their pre-season requirements. Emeline Pugeat was one of the Student Sports Therapists supporting the day:

“The day I spent doing the KHFC screening was very interesting. I got to see how the pre-season screening process happens in practice, and it was a very good experience. “

After a successful day, BCU was contacted to arrange for students to support the first team throughout pre-season and hopefully further into their season for 18/19.

Sports Massage Clinic

For the first time, BCU opened its very own Sports Massage Clinic in February 2018 and with 168 clients through the doors in 11 weeks, it is fair to say it was a success. We look forward to opening our doors again in October and then introducing our Musculoskeletal Injury Clinic in February 2019. Samuel Turner reflects on his experience in the clinic:

“Having the opportunity to gain invaluable experience working with real clients has improved both my communications skills and confidence. It has imprinted the process into my brain by allowing me to continue developing my skills immediately after completing my assessment.”

Cadaver Trip

It is never an easy pitch to students that a cadaver workshop can be worthwhile; until you have experienced it, it can seem daunting. However, we were able to take a group of our students to the dissection labs at Keele University in May; it was a fantastic morning. Jassimran Kaur shared her thoughts:

“My experience at the cadaver trip was really interesting; it reinforced what I had learnt about the human body, as well as being able to see structures outside of the musculoskeletal system, such as the heart and lungs.”

London Marathon

April 22nd saw a very hot London Marathon. Students were taken to London to join forces with Children with Cancer to provide post event sports massage to the worthy runners. Hardev Matharu was one of the students who took part:

“Going to the London Marathon with my fellow classmates and lecturers was one of the best experiences of my sports therapy career to date. I got a chance to meet a variety of different runners which really tested my skills when providing post event massage. Just being in an environment like that was a learning curve, as it was more demanding and faster paced to what I had experienced, when compared to our clinic environment which we run at university.”


Warwickshire County Cricket Club (WCCC)

Students were lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to provide sports massage support for the WCCC 1st team. Students applied for this opportunity and were invited for interview. Thomas Maundrell was one of the successful students who has been undertaking the experience at the club, here are his thoughts:

“The placement at Warwickshire is an excellent opportunity to work with professional players in a high tech environment. This has given me hands on experience of how players are dealt with in a professional setting. Furthermore, it highlights the positive effect that sports massage also has on players.”

Worcester Warriors Internship

Various opportunities became available to our students at Worcester Warriors for a Strength and Conditioning Internship and pitch side academy cover for a summer camp the club were running. Two of our students were successful in the application process, Paige Wilkes shares her thoughts:

“I recently started an internship with Worcester Warriors Rugby Football Club as a strength and conditioning coach for the academy team. I’m looking forward to taking part in the under 16 and under 18 testing days coming up, along with the 3 day training camp we will be attending in Malvern next month.”

Great Britain Basketball and Course Experience

Gregory Downes was able to gain some invaluable work experience at a GB Senior Men’s Basketball camp in Leicester last year. Here are Greg’s thoughts on the experience and his time on the course so far:

"I have thoroughly enjoyed beginning to learn a new profession this past year. The content taught has been fantastic and very challenging. All of the sports therapy staff are extremely knowledgeable, approachable and happy to assist in academic struggles. I was lucky enough to experience a great opportunity with Team GB Basketball at their first World Cup qualification camp. It was an amazing experience and I feel honoured to have massaged and assisted some of the best basketballers Britain has to offer.

I'm very impressed with the opportunity given to students at such an early stage of this degree where we are able to put the content we learnt into practice, which is certainly helping me to develop into the sports therapist I want to be."

Peter Thain, Course Leader, shared his thoughts:

“This has been an exciting year for Sports Therapy at BCU. Our teaching philosophy demands a practice-led, knowledge-applied approach and I am very thankful to our team of staff for providing such an array of opportunities for our first year students. We are very proud of the students who have made the most of the opportunities that have been available to them, as they have represented themselves, BCU and The Society of Sports Therapists incredibly well.

This first academic year has seen us transition into our brand new home at the City South Campus, Edgbaston. With equipment such as anti-gravity treadmills, DEXA, environmental chambers, and teaching- only fitness suits and sports halls, alongside our bespoke clinical space, with repeater screens, the new home of Sports Therapy will allow us to deliver our programme philosophy, and best prepare our graduates for industry.”

Editor’s note
Congratulations to the Sports Therapy staff and students at Birmingham City University for a great start to the programme – we wish you all continued success for many more years to come.

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