How and why did you get into physiotherapy?
My first involvement with physiotherapy was in my teens when I pulled my hamstring during a 100 meters sprint final for my club in the All Ireland sprint championships. The rehabilitation process and the understanding of anatomy that was required to overcome my problems intrigued me and so initially sparked my interest. Further involvement with physiotherapists throughout my rugby career made me realize it was something I could do within sport once I was finished with rugby. However I never have any intention of retiring from rugby.
What sparked your initial enthusiasm for Pilates?
I have been using the exercises that we do in pilates for a very long time. From the age of 10 I started my TaeKwon Do training which incorporated a lot of the exercises we do today. Throughout the mid 90’s to the early 2000’s I saw a lot of the movements becoming more popular in rugby training with academy training in the munster and irish rugby camps. Pilates training plays a part in studying physiotherapy so it was a natural progression to train and learn more in this area.
What qualifications and training did you have to do to become a Physio?
Having an A+ in irish leaving certificate biology helps before you apply. Added to that going back as a mature student with a previous 4 year university degree also helped. Doing personal training, strength and conditioning and sports massage gives you a base level of knowledge. On top of that it’s a 3 year university degree in the UK. In first year a lot of time is spent on anatomy and physiology, from dissecting cadavers to learning the biomechanics of the body. As horrible as it may seem I have been fortunate enough to be able to see the human body inside and out. After a while you get over the fact you are holding a heart, brain or liver in yours hands and learn to really appreciate what we are made of. In second and third year you have to do a thousand hours of clinical work which incorporates respiratory, neurological, musculoskeletal and community/elderly care placements. Everything from individual assessments, assignments, dissertation work to group work. The usual stuff that comes with degree work. I think the most important thing of all is having the skill to be able to critique scientific research and learning to have to be reflective on your practice ensuring you try to constantly improve.
How has your physio background contribute to your work today?
It has given me a great understanding of anatomy and how the body works and functions. Physio has also contributed to my understanding of the social and psychological problems that contribute to a person’s welfare as opposed to just their physical ailment.
What are the most common injuries you come across in your classes?
Unsurprisingly it would have to be lower back injuries
What advice would you give to your clients to prevent getting injured when working out?
If you are unsure about anything or already have something that you may be concerned about, do not be afraid to speak up and ask for help or assistance.
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
Helping people solve their problems and coming up with solutions. Helping other people is extremely rewarding.
Who most inspires you?
What do you listen to when you work out?
Generally I am not too bothered about what music is playing when I am working out. I will listen to most things within reason. My music selection can be very broad. However, if I was to choose then Guns N Roses or AC/DC generally gets me pumped up.
If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?
Welcome To The Jungle, Guns N Roses
If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?
A mobile, laptop and internet connection so I could go online, buy and order all the things I wanted on the island.
If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
Don Johnson because he is a cool dude. I am a crazy 1980’s Miami Vice fan.