Case study

Lead sports therapist — Matthew Booth

Matthew studied for a BHSc in Physiotherapy at York St John University. He now works as a lead sports therapist at Flex Health LTD

How did you get your job?

I've always had a passion for sport and an ambition to work within an elite industry. While at university I spent some time in London shadowing the medical department at Leyton Orient Football Club. Once I graduated I obtained an entry-level job working for Hull City Football Club.

During this early stage of my career I was fortunate enough to work with some excellent and very experienced physiotherapists. In my first year, I was part of the Hull team that won promotion to the Premier League. This was one of the best moments of my career to date. From here I obtained a promotion to the under-23s team, overseeing the medical needs for this squad. After working in professional football for multiple seasons, I set up a physiotherapy center, Flex Health. It adopts the same principles used in professional sport and applies them to the masses.

What's a typical day like as a sports therapist?

Within professional team sport a typical day involves prepping the training players. This includes soft tissue work, strapping and taping, joint mobilisations and other assessment and treatment strategies. Once the fit players have gone out for training, the injured players arrive to commence a full day of rehabilitation. This may include taking the injured players through a strategic rehab plan such as utilising the rehabilitation gym or hydro pool and liaising with strength and conditioning coaches.

I also ensure I'm present at all external medical consultations with the players, which involves travelling up and down the country as well as travelling abroad to see specialists. On game day, I'm involved in the first response team for any acute injuries during match play. This could include anything from severe head injuries to ankle sprains.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with such a wide variety of patients. I still have a lot of professional athletes as patients at Flex Health, but no matter the individual I treat everyone exactly the same. I use an intensive sports medicine approach that aims to reduce rehabilitation time.

What are the challenges?

Physiotherapy is a developing profession and ensuring that I am up to date with the latest research is a challenge. I overcome this by dedicating specific time to knowing the latest research and using it to further my assessment and treatment strategies.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My degree gave me an excellent platform to establish my career. The physiotherapy degree at York St John gave me a passion for working in healthcare and the ability to develop my own style. There was a freedom to the degree and the lecturers have been very supportive. I still have an excellent working relationship with York St John University and am looking in the near future to further this relationship.

How has your role developed?

My clinical skills have developed significantly, and I am enjoying passing what I have learned on to aspiring physiotherapists. At present I am developing new and exciting ways to deliver physiotherapy, at Flex Health we aim to be at the forefront of new ways to enhance the profession.

How do I get a job in sports therapy?

I highly recommend gaining experience while studying at university. I had to seek my own experience before graduating. Football teams look for experienced candidates when hiring new members of staff.

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