Paul Fleming, BSc (Hons) Sport Therapy and Rehabilitation
Where did you go for your work placement and what made you apply?
Britain’s Strongest Man competition held at Sheffield Arena. I wanted to go as it was a great opportunity to see a side of the sport that the majority of people wouldn’t ordinarily have access to, as well as to further my experience and skills as a manual therapist.
What did you get involved with while you were there?
Most of the equipment had been set up prior to our arrival at the venue, but we helped with the final preparations of massage beds and minor bits of equipment we would need. After that, it was simply waiting for the athletes to complete their usual contest preparations, such as warming up with lighter weights in the back areas not open to the public (I say lighter weights, they were still lifting mammoth amounts!). Once the athletes had performed their own routines and prepared in their own way, a few of them requested a quick massage to help relieve any sore or tight areas prior to them taking on the first event. Between events we employed various techniques to keep the athletes in peak condition, and to help relieve any complaints or minor injuries (muscle strains and sprains) they had picked up whilst they had pushed their bodies to the limit. After the event we assisted with packing away the massage equipment, and just about managed to grab a quick group photo with the winner, and Worlds Strongest Man, Eddie Hall.
How will your work placement help with your studies?
The placement provided some valuable insight into what is required during events, both from sport therapy teams and the athletes themselves. Personally, I had worked at the various running events in Derbyshire, so this also gave me some experience working with different kinds of athletes, with very different bodies to that of distance runners!
What was your favourite part of your work placement experience?
Having the opportunity to talk to the athletes between events was quite fun, but we also had a cheeky go at lifting some of the objects they throw around like toys, like the 100kg+ keg and sandbags, and the slightly more manageable 30kg hammer (and obviously grabbing a photo with Eddie.)
What would you say to anyone interested in doing a work placement as part of their course?
Work placements give you a chance to put some of the skills you learn into practice in different environments and with sometimes vastly different people – but you only get out of them what you put in, so participation and observation is key! But mostly, they can be a fun and free way to get to experience things you might otherwise never see.