Case study

Graduate sports therapist — Camilla Smee

Camilla is director of a musculoskeletal and injury specialist clinic, as well as a clinical educator. Find out how she combines running a business and lecturing to students with her clinical work

How did you get your job?

I studied for a BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy at the University of East London (UEL), graduating in 2015. After graduation, I started my clinic with only an entrepreneurial spirit and a great support network around me. I used the help of my mentors and lecturers from UEL and continued to work in other clinics to gain vital experience. Over time my skills and knowledge developed, and so did my business.

What's a typical working day like?

My week is split into two sections. For three days I split my time across both my clinics, where I treat private clinical patients. On the other two days, I work with the British Olympians and lecture at UEL.

My role as clinical director of Elite Injuries consists of running and managing the business, with tasks in areas including marketing, accounts and business development. As well as this, I work in the business as a graduate sports therapist seeing patients, ranging from non-exercising individuals through to elite athletes, such as the British Olympic diving squads. I also manage/mentor an employee who is a graduate sports therapist and works in one of my clinics.

I was initially a clinical educator in the sports therapy clinic at the university, and the role has gradually developed into more of a lecturing position. I support and guest lecture on different modules throughout the sports therapy degree programme.

What do you enjoy most about being a sports therapist?

The diversity - no day is the same and you get to meet so many different types of people and professionals.

What are the challenges?

If I'm being honest I'd say that at first I found time management very challenging, especially being self-employed and having a lot going on. However, once I gained a structure to my working day/week everything started to fall into place.

In what way is your degree relevant?

The degree was the foundation of my knowledge as a graduate sports therapist. However, I'm always continuing my learning and development for the welfare of my patients and profession. Whenever I'm asked how long it took me to study to do what I do now, my answer is always the same: seven years - and counting!

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role has developed a lot since graduating. I started up a business from scratch, with just a pot of massage cream and a portable couch, and now I'm proud to say I have two clinic locations and work with high-level elite athletes, as well as within academia. My career ambitions are to keep growing the business and developing my lecturing role.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this role?

  • Gain as much experience as you can. Go and find local clinics and sports teams, and observe what the job entails hands-on.
  • If you're thinking of studying sports therapy, visit The Society of Sports Therapists for a list of the universities they accredit. Go along to a couple of your preferred university open days to find the right course for you.
  • If you're a newly graduated sports therapist, experience and networking is key.

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