I qualified as a physio in 2002 and like most physios I worked for four years in the NHS, getting my basic training and development done. Alongside this I did lots of volunteer and evening work with small sporting teams to build up my experience.
In 2005/06 I got a bit of a break and got a job with Saracens RFC where I looked after the academy. After the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics I knew I wanted to be involved in Olympic and Paralympic sport and was lucky enough to get a job working for the English Institute of Sport, where I worked with Great Britain Rowing, and then UK Athletics before moving to the British Sailing Team.
It is my role to ensure that the sailors are in as best physical condition as possible, so that they can sail the last race of a regatta the same as the first race. It is about trying to prevent any injuries from occurring, and where this isn’t possible, getting the injuries fixed as quickly as possible, to minimise the amount of time off the water.
I love working with the best sailors in the world, and an incredibly dedicated support team who are always trying to improve the service that we offer. For me the biggest test has to be the travel. We are away a lot and that can be difficult for lots of reasons, but primarily it is a challenge trying to provide the same level of support that we do at home when we are away on the road. Plus I miss home when I am away.
TOP TIPS – PHYSIOTHERAPY CAREER
You need a degree in Physiotherapy and preferably some post graduate education or development in Sport Physiotherapy.
- Do your physio degree and learn as much as you can
- Try and get as much experience/exposure sports physiotherapy as you can – volunteering, shadowing and so on
- Work hard
A typical day for Lily
It depends whether I am working from our Performance Unit in Portland or travelling away. As I am currently away at a regatta this is my day:
- Early morning and a bit of exercise
- Walk to the boat park and touch base with all the athletes and coaches and check they are alright
- Pre-sailing warm up exercises with the sailors
- Some individual treatment or pre-sailing taping for those who require it
- Touch base with other support staff and sailors not at this competition
- Bit of admin – emails, medical notes, project work, reading (you can always learn something)
- When people come off the water
- Post sailing treatment
- Post sailing recovery options including massage, stretching
For more information about RYA Training Courses and Careers Advice visit www.rya.org.uk/training
RYA Working with Water contains everything you need to know about working, as a pastime of new career, in any area of the watersports industry, whether it is as dinghy instructor, sail maker or lock keeper.