James - Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Why Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation?

When I first came to UWE Bristol  I started off doing sports biology but went to a few lectures and found it wasn’t my kind of subject. So I came to Glenside campus and looked at the Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation programme, as I am quite a sporty person I thought it was something I’d like to pursue.

It’s funny as the old UWE Bristol slogan was “start here, go anywhere” and that’s literally what happened with me. I started at UWE Bristol doing Sports Biology and then I went onto Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.

It is great as the course is vocational which means it provides me with the training for a job rather than getting a degree where the end result is uncertain. It gives you a clear career pathway.

"It improves employability because it combines the therapeutic side of physio and the strength and conditioning aspects of sports therapy."

The UWE Bristol difference

It’s a really good course, the sessions nicely relate together, so you have a theory session and then a practical session related directly to it.

I would recommend to anybody that’s interested in the course to attend the Open Day to get a feel of the place and definitely make sure you’ve got your UCAS forms in early. When you know where you want to go, just go for it! If you are prepared and know what you want to do, you will be a lot more relaxed and enjoy it.

I’d never been to Bristol before I came here - I didn’t know how culturally mixed it was and you meet a lot of people from all over the place. I love the clubs and even started doing some promotion work at one of the them because I loved it so much. It was good, as I was putting something back into the community. I have some really good nights out as there is always a lot going on in Bristol.

We are quite lucky as there are only about 20 of us on our course, so the best thing about it is we’ve got quite a close knit group, it’s nice. And the practice sessions are really good as you get to know the people really well. Our course is really diverse, we’ve got people of all ages. I like Glenside campus as it’s like a community, if you walk down the corridor you tend to see people you know.

The learning experience

The first year of my course was based at Glenside and involved quite a lot of theory based work, getting to understand key anatomy, physiology and biomechanics. In our first year we used the HAL (Human Analysis Laboratory) a lot to look at biomechanics. There are a few key machines in there which measures muscle strength through range, it’s quite complex. We work very closely with the physiotherapy students; we share lectures and use the same practical facilities in the first and second year of the course.

Placements

The course includes placements and my first six week block involved developing the skills from my first year and putting them into practice. I was based in a NHS hospital; the aim of that placement was to see the post-operation side of things. It gave me a better insight and understanding of what a patient is able to do and what they can tolerate. I feel that was a key placement for me. It was nice being in a hospital setting because it shows other career opportunities.

My second placement was working in a sports academy, working with athletes who play on a weekly basis at quite a high level; I was looking at conditioning and at sports specific rehab, for example taking a rugby player, analysing their game and then putting in interventions to try and maximise their play.

The facilities

I use the facilities at Glenside, especially the library where you can use a lot of the physiotherapy books which relate to sports therapy and there’s nice work space in there. You can also use the facilities like skeletons and resources that are specific to your course and they do help a lot in terms of revision. Our final year is based at Hartpury College so we’ve got access to all resources there as well, so we get the best of both worlds.

I used the Centre for Sport at lot in my first year as I played basketball and was part of the UWE Bristol basketball club, and in the second year attended the gym. Also it has come in handy during my course because I was allowed to record and take photos for my presentations there to show a more sports specific side to my coursework.

The social side

Getting involved in UWE sports clubs was key for me as it allowed me to meet a lot of people with similar interests. I would advise anyone coming to university to find out about some of the sports clubs available.

Socialising at UWE Bristol has always been good, especially after the second year, it was awesome, because of course I knew a lot more people, so it was nice going out.

The financial side

The university has helped to support me quite a lot with bursaries. The first two years I could survive just on my student loan and bursary, so financially I’ve been ok all the way through. I now have a part-time job which is football coaching for young football players, it’s on Saturdays and Sunday mornings so it gets me out of bed, it’s extra money and good fun. UWE Bristol helped me get the job as I found it via the Students' Union Jobshop.

The future

Once graduated there are opportunities to work in sports, within health clubs, as a personal trainer, strength conditioning. In a way, this degree gives me the ability to take someone, literally in a cast, back to playing on the pitch. It gives me a good route into employability because it encompasses two roles into one, the therapeutic side of physiotherapy and the strength and conditioning aspects of sports therapy.

Eventually I’d like to go onto further study and my key aim would be to either work in a league sport at some point and if possible get a job related to the 2012 Olympics. If not, I’m looking at working in football, basketball, rugby, some kind of top of the league sport.

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