You’ve just crossed the graduation stage to receive the degree that you’ve spent the last 3-years working so hard for and are sharing a celebratory drink with your family, friends and (former) lecturers. What could make this moment any better? A phone call from the professional football club you had spent the last 6-months on placement with offering you a full time job!
This was the reality that 2016 Sports Therapy graduate Kyle Fairgrieve experienced just over 12 months ago. Having just completed his first year in employment, Kyle has taken some time consider how this year has gone, and offer his thoughts for any new graduates setting out on a similar path.
Port Vale FC
What are the typical duties you carry out on a day to day / week to week basis?
As the clubs Sport Therapist my daily duties include the assessment and treatment of injured players. This ranging from the manual therapy work in the treatment room, the conditioning work in the gym or the more functional and return to play work out on the pitch – all depending on their stage of rehab.
Other duties include delivering soft tissue work for all of the first team squad, general monitoring of players fitness levels, match day pitch side cover for the first team and reserves. Then finally ensuring they get the right recovery in – so its pretty full on and varied, but its a challenging environment that I feel I’m thriving in.
What are the most enjoyable / satisfying / best parts about your job?
Winning! Its incredible how happy 3 points over a weekend makes the whole club.
Although seeing a player you have spent time rehabbing from an injury return to the pitch is almost as satisfying!
What has been the hardest thing / biggest learning curve you have faced so far?
The hardest thing I have found is the general demand of the professional game. I went from being a student where I had a lot of free time to now working 6/7 days a week at times and sometimes going 10 days straight!
The key to working effectively is most definitely preparation. The biggest learning thing I have had to learn has probably been to spin plates. I went from seeing 1 client a day to now seeing 5/6 players in the space of an hour or two so you have to be well prepared and learn to think outside the box.
Now you are working, which parts of your course do you think were most helpful to you?
I think all of it, I don’t think there is something I haven’t used at some point over the last year. Even things I learnt in first year, some of the basics have come in handy!
Did your placement module / experience you gained during your studies help you, and if so how?
I got my job off the back of my placement so I’d be inclined to say yes! I was lucky to work with really a really supportive placement supervisor (the Port Vale Head Physio) on my placement who has since moved on to Cardiff FC, but he helped me immensely. To any student about to go out on placement my advice is to take the opportunity to learn as much as possible on placement, as you never know what it might lead to. Without the placement requirement of my course I wouldn’t have the position I do now.
What advice would you offer to current students due to graduate this year?
Read, read and read, and don’t stop learning. I read more journals in the first 2 months out of uni than I did in 3 years and if I’m being honest, I wish I had took my lecturers advise and done more while at uni. I learnt so much just from little pieces here and there and some of the knowledge I’ve picked up from this has been invaluable! Also, practice your practical skills! You can’t perfect your skills without practicing!
What are your ambitions?
To reach as high as i can within the sport. I am lucky enough to be in full time football at 22 so I’d like to think I’ve got the time to learn, gain the experience and get there. Should I ever decide to leave football though, lecturing is something I’m definitely interested in considering.
Whats next for you over the next 12 months? E.g. learning any new skills, taking on new courses?
In the next year the FA AREA course, learning manipulations techniques and dry needling are all on the horizon. I would also like to complete a masters degree at some point although part-time over 4 years is the most likely pathway in order for me to balance this with my continued work in football.
Kyle, graduated from the BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy programme and Staffordshire. The course has received an National Student Survey Overall Satisfaction score between 94-100% in the last 3 years. If interested and which to find out more about the programme, please contact the course leader Steve Bateman