Following the release of the FHT’s second ‘My therapist helps me…’ case study, we have caught up with sports therapist Nicholas Flanagan who revealed why he chose a career in care.
Why did you decide to train as a sports therapist?
‘I started my journey on a complementary health therapy course which introduced me to massage and many other types of therapy. When the course ended, I found myself wanting more – I had developed a thirst for learning. I went on to complete a BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree and have recently embarked on a master’s degree in Physiotherapy at Teesside University.’
What do you enjoy most about your role?
‘I really enjoy working with people who have developed seemingly unwarranted aches and pains, whether that is due to poor posture as a result of working at a desk or from not having a correctly balanced gym programme. Being able to assess the root of these issues allows me to help people to understand the cause of their problems and therefore provide them with treatment or tools to help correct these. The best feeling is when people return to the practice with a feeling of self improvement and greater understanding of their body.’
What are the most common problems you help your clients address?
‘I see a lot of people dealing with low back pain, and back, neck and shoulder issues due to poor posture as well as a variety of sport related injuries. They all have one thing in common; regardless of how the problems occur, people want to improve their function and reduce pain.’
What has been your greatest achievement while working as a sports therapist?
‘I couldn’t define one moment but rather a general feeling. When you are in a position to help people improve their function, you gain an insight into how significantly these problems can affect people’s lives, and that can be tough – people can be really down and feel hopeless. However, with some encouragement and therapy, I often see people return to the practice with a positive attitude and feeling like they can make a difference in their lives. That gives me joy; it makes me proud to have been an influence in that transition.’
What did winning the 2016 FHT Sports Therapist of the Year award mean to you?
‘”Wow!” first of all, considering the competition of Adrian and Nicholas, I didn’t think I stood a chance against such strong calibre, high achieving therapists.
‘For me it was a real validation of the work that I do, not only in practice but also as a volunteer. To be recognised as somebody that makes a difference has always motivated me; it inspires me to keep learning and developing and to continue thinking outside the box. It has already afforded me so many new experiences, and this is only the beginning.’
Tell us about your part in the FHT’s ‘My therapist helps me…’ campaign.
‘I had an inordinate amount of fun taking part, especially being given the opportunity to go on this journey with my wonderful client, Kevin. Kevin is a real inspiration and such a go-getter; he is determined not to let life get in the way of his ambitions. Being able to help him manage his body was good enough for me, but to see him push forward and keep coaching the rugby team was the icing on the cake. I also have to mention the hard work that the FHT does to make the campaign flow seamlessly; it puts me at ease knowing that there are such competent and dedicated professionals working to best represent me and fellow therapy professionals.’
What inspired you to take part in the 2017 FHT Training Congress and what should guests expect from your seminar?
‘Truthfully, I jumped at this opportunity. In the past I have lectured to new learners but never to peers. I am always seeking a new challenge as I believe working outside your comfort zone is essential for both personal and professional growth.
‘This seminar on age and exercise is going to be a lot of fun and will get your heart beating. I have some relevant and informative research to highlight, and will be presenting a collection of recommendations for practice, received from very well recognised practitioners. There is also a nice surprise in store for you – I am all about experiential learning and so I ask you to bring an open mind, a positive attitude and comfortable footwear!’
What’s next for Nick?
‘I have just begun studying a master’s degree in Physiotherapy which will be my main focus over the next two years. I also work at The Westoe Practice in South Shields; we are a multidisciplinary center for health and well-being. I am part of an amazing team of people who are passionate about helping people improve their quality of life through various physical, psychological and spiritual modalities. I hope to offer the highest quality of service to those in need and continue to develop my craft by learning from my clients and peers.’
Nicholas Flanagan will be hosting the “Age and Exercise” seminar at 10:30 on Sunday 21 May at the 2017 FHT Training Congress.
You can find out more about Nick and Kevin’s case study here