Hi everyone. Today we’re going to do something a little different on the blog. You may be aware that I run an online Strength & Conditioning For Therapists course and on each launch I sponsor a place. This specifically means that a therapist from a developing country or who is in a position of financial hardship can apply do the course for free. An inherent condition in the award is to pay it forward. Today’s post is all about the S&C For Therapists Sponsored Place, specifically the recipient.

The first recipient was Martin Ong’wen, a brilliant physiotherapist from Kenya. Read all about him here. Today I’d like to introduce 2020’s first recipient: Santiago, a fantastically ambitious physiotherapist from Columbia. He’s very kindly shared his story with us for the Sponsored Place write-up.

He’s fairly modest in his account. I know from our conversations that he does a lot of work with an organisation that provides cycling scholarships and medical aid for children in deprived areas. The Esteban Cháves Foundation focusses on the development of ‘of integral human beings’ through sport and healthy competition. And, the medical program is committed to changing the life of children,”… many of which do not have the resources to treat their orthopaedic problems, that make it difficult for them to play, write, or even walk.”

Please take your time to read his story.

Hello, my name is Santiago Alzate

I am a physical therapist and I am currently studying for a master’s degree in sport and physical activity at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. I was born in a beautiful country called Colombia in a town called Sonsón, 4 hours from the nearest city with my mother. There I completed my school and I had to move from town to study, as physiotherapy schools were very expensive, besides the cost of housing, food and transportation, I started working at a young age while paying for my studies with a government loan that I currently pay. I got a job in the capital of the country 1 year ago to be able to pay for my masters and sustain my expenses.

I currently work with cyclists and triathletes of all ages with a view to high performance, accompaniment in the reduction of risk factors for people who perform physical activity and also help in a foundation for children with orthopedic pathologies trying to change their complex situation.

Physiotherapy in Columbia

Physiotherapy in my country, although it was constrained for a long time in the cubicles of physical modalities, had a great growth for a couple of years that opened the perspective to other types of practices more oriented to movement. The discovery of this Strength & Conditioning For Therapists course and the award of the scholarship have been a great opportunity for me to break many of the paradigms imposed over several years. These include serial number of repetitions, understanding and application of training principles, the use of strength and importance of your periodization from physiotherapy. This further opens the possibilities of more efficient and complete physiotherapy approaches for all kinds of people.

S&C For Therapists; Sponsored Place

Our education in Columbia is not very good since the government does not allocate much money for studies, and in physiotherapy it is not common to make new courses or updates given the poor access to opportunities. The low value of our currency makes it impossible to access a great course such as this.

There were 6 productive weeks (despite the quarantine) with access to a very well determined platform, with very clear information, great scientific support, with in-depth reviews of each of the topics and a weekly meeting with access to a Facebook group, where an in-depth review of each topic was made, with different professionals and many approaches that allowed us to significantly expand our knowledge. (I was also able to put into practice my low level of English, which required much more effort and concentration)

Thank you Claire and the entire team for your great help, the personalized support, the quick response of all queries and emails, the scheduling of the videos at specific times for my time zone (it was the most complex) and for a great experience in a time as difficult as the one we are going through now. I hope to use my new skills to improve our sports level and work to get many more young people out of poverty through sport.

Pay It Forward

Santiago and I have discussed his ideas of how to implement and pay forward his learning in the Strength & Conditioning for Therapists course. Clearly, things area little difficult to action at present with the COVID-19 lockdown, but I’m looking forward to seeing and sharing with you the result of his plans with his aspiring athletes.

If you’re interested in joining the next course enrolment or you’d like to apply for the Sponsored Place, follow the link below and enter your details.