The growing stature of Athletic Therapists in Ireland is highlighted by the presence of ARTI members at the top level of sport in various disciplines.
There are a growing number of therapists playing significant roles with GAA teams at club and county level, while rugby is another discipline to benefit greatly to the expertise of members.
Not to be outdone, the domestic soccer scene is also seeing the huge advantages and the most recent recruit to a high profile position is Kevin Boyd who is now working with Airtricty League side Shelbourne FC.
The 23-year-old from Baldoyle was delighted to get the opportunity to work with elite athletes at the Premier Division club in his first job since graduating.
“When I finished my degree in DCU, I didn’t want to go straight into a Masters and instead I wanted to gain some experience and exposure. Through John Coyle, who has just started a clinic in Parnells and where Shelbourne came on board, I had the opportunity to work with them on the Jobsbridge scheme.
“It was a great opportunity so I jumped at it and was in from the first week of the new season, mainly dealing with the first team players”, explained Kevin who revealed that it is a demanding but rewarding position.
“It can be intense because there can be two games per week at times so it is a challenge to make sure everyone is in top condition. I have to attend games but it is during the week that you earn your money as you have to get the balance right between getting players back as quick as possible, but without rushing them.
“We have to do a lot of preparation work in order to prevent players picking up knocks, so thankfully it is all going well at the minute. We don’t have a big budget so the playing panel is about 20 which means that we can’t afford to have to many out of action”, added Kevin.
As a talented footballer in his youth, Kevin was part from the famous Home Farm schoolboy set-up but after starting college his football career had to take a back seat.
However, he believes that his experience as a player is a huge benefit in his new role as it helps him both to understand the injuries and the needs of the players.
“I suppose it was natural that I would have an involvement at sport at some level and my playing days have certainly helped me in this role. I think the fact that I played helps me build a rapport with the lads and I can really relate to them in terms of knowing what their needs are”, he continued.
“One of the big challenges was the fact that the management team was changed midway through the season so I had to adapt what I was doing to suit the needs of the new regime.
Kevin is also grateful to the support of John Coyle who is always available to help out with any advice or tips as required.
Kevin also has plans to return to UCD to complete his Masters in Physiotherapy and although the two-year programme is hospital-based, he is hoping to continue his involvement with Shelbourne.
“It is a very intense course but hopefully I will be able to stay with Shels at some level because I am enjoying it and learning a lot as I go along”, added Kevin.