Thursday, 24 May 2012

Exclusive Interview with Ben Riley

The day to day life of a physiotherapist

By Aaron Leggott

At the age of 23, Ben Riley will not be the most famous person we will ever interview. Just two years after graduating from the University of Huddersfield, he is trying his utmost best to fulfill his ambition of one day being the physio at Manchester City. We love people who have high targets, and couldn't resist asking him about his hopes and dreams.

"Ideally I would love to end up on the City bench. That would be a pretty cool job. But in reality, City can employ anyone they want on a worldwide scale, and I can't ever see myself being that lucky."

There is always hope out there if you aim and work hard, and Ben is definitely one of those rare people in modern day life. His interest in science and health care has stretched all the way back to school, when his major interest was human biology in particular. 

However, when it came to picking an eventual career, it seemed like he was stuck for options:

"I was always stuck when it came to picking a career, thinking I was good at everything, but I only thought about physiotherapy when my teacher first suggested it. The first thing that came into my head was physio's running onto the football pitches when I go to games." 

Ben can be forgiven for thinking that this was all that being a physio entailed. Even he admits himself that treating injuries is only a very small part of a job, and it is a common misconception that this is all that physio's do. 

Regarding the day to day life of a football physio, he said:

"Ever since I've been looking to embark on the sports side of it (physiotherapy) I have kept in contact with one of my good friends that was on the same course as me. He is now the assistant physio at Colchester and his role is to determine whether a player is injured before planning how they best react to stretches or fitness drills.

"Most of his time involves warming up and cooling down the players. The cooling down usually involves massages, alternating heat baths and things like that. Very little of his time is taken treating injuries, and he spends a lot of it doing prehabilitation, which aims to prevent injuries before they happen."

If he had any confusion about what a physio did prior to doing his degree at the University of Huddersfield, then that quickly changed when he got there.

"My ambition was to always go into the sport field but none of my course looked at that, with more focus upon the NHS and how to treat children and the elderly population. 

"It's not easy (the course) and you have got to have a real interest in it and put the effort in. It is not like any other university course where people go out every night, it seemed like we were always the ones getting our heads in our books.

"I have worked very hard to get through the course, and it is fair to say the work placements were a bit of a slog."

His placements were done all over Yorkshire in the likes of Leeds, Barnsley and Huddersfield in elderly, respiratory and cardiology wards. Adding his voluntary work with local and private physios in Manchester before going to University, it is clear that he has a great CV for any prospective employers.

He is now starting his enrollment courses, as well as booking some first aid courses. As a committed individual, he has also applied to some local clubs such as Rochdale, Bury, Stokport and Hyde in the hope they will let him shadow their current physio's to give him that vital experience and hopefully sneak his way through the door. Regarding his future ambitions, Ben said:

"My aim is to hopefully be an established physio at a football club, maybe at a lower league level. It is all about working my way up, and getting my foot in the door - that's the hard bit."

Ironically, the events of the 13th May led himself to an injury, as he brusied his leg after Sergio Aguero's celebration. We couldn't resist asking him about that memorable day, as he still feels the pain from his legs.

"I think that's the best way we could have won it. If we won the league by 30 points it wouldn't have been the same, it was a moment we'll never forget and we were lucky to be there." 

So, there you have it. At 23 years old, Ben has a very bright future ahead of him in my opinion. I have met very few people as committed as him, and I hope he gets the break he deserves. I'm sure you will all join me in spreading the message about Ben and wishing him luck with his future career!

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You can also follow Aaron (@aaron_leggott) and Ben (@Briley1111) on Twitter as well! 

(c) The Sky Blue View 2012


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