Strength & Conditioning For Therapists: Sponsored Place Blog
Posted by Claire
November 26, 2020

Hi there. How are things with you today? I hope all’s well in whatever state of lockdown you’re in at the moment. I’m going to interrupt the adjuncts to rehabilitation series of posts and introduce a special guest: Wihan du Plessis. Wihan is the well-deserved recipient of the 3rd Sponsored Place on the Strength & Conditioning For Therapists course. He joined the course in September from Namibia and here he writes for us: Strength & Conditioning For Therapists: Sponsored Place Blog. Please take the time to read his story.

Introducing Wihan

My name is Wihan du Plessis. I am a young physiotherapist currently working in Walvis Bay, Namibia. I was born and bred in the most beautiful city in the world – Cape Town, South Africa. My love and passion for sport since a young age motivated me to pursue a career in physiotherapy. The great Nelson Mandela once said; “Sport has the power to inspire”. As an eager sportsman and passionate physiotherapist I however realized that injuries can have a massive impact on athlete’s physical, as well as mental health. Except for the athletes who are negatively influenced by injuries, there are many other parties that are also influenced, such as management, sponsors and spectators.

Background

As I progressed through my studies, I realized that there is much more to my chosen profession than just sport physiotherapy. People from all walks of life are restricted in performing to the best of their functional abilities due to pain and disability. Physiotherapy is such a diverse profession. Not only do we treat a diverse range of population groups, we are also confronted with a wide variety of treatment approaches. 

“Consultations were often done at people’s homes and even outside under a tree.”

I am privileged to have been exposed to contrasting population groups and environments early in my career.  In my first year of practice I was based in the Northern Cape in South Africa. I worked in extremely rural settings, with no equipment available. Consultations were often done at people’s homes and even outside under a tree. My current working environment however consists of a wide range of different populations, conditions and injuries. I work with elite athletes, through to hospital patients who are in ICU and everything in between. I am fortunate to have all the necessary resources and facilities at my disposal.

Passions

man playing touch rugby

I am passionate about working with active populations who are restricted by pain and injury and are thus not able to function to the best of their ability. I also enjoy helping inactive people, as well as patients suffering from chronic pain to be more active and change their personal beliefs around what their bodies are capable of. 

As a young physiotherapist, I am constantly aware of the different influences on our profession.  As these influences, especially on social media, become more, it is our duty to ensure that we focus our attention to influences that are supported by sound evidence. There is a growing interest and focus not only among therapists, but also patients, on so called “quick fixes”. Just as one gimmick has come and gone, the next one has arrived. This has led to my application for the sponsored place for the Strength and Conditioning for Therapists. On reflection of my clinical practice I found that I was not as effective with building strength in my patients as I would have wanted. I had a burning desire to expand my knowledge in this area and knew that it will greatly benefit the patients that I interact with.

Strength & Conditioning For Therapists Has Influenced My Practice

I am extremely privileged to be the third sponsorship recipient. I am forever grateful to Dr Minshull and her team at Get Back to Sport. This course has aided immensely in my development and my approach to rehabilitation. The course gives clear and evidence based guidelines, but it is not recipe driven. It focuses on setting a good base to work from.

“…therapists from all over the world interact and learn from each other in a constructive manner.”

Going back to basics really aids in having true specificity and being more effective in your planning and execution. Without having the basics in place, assessment and treatment plans can easily collapse. The knowledge that I gained in this course can be applied to build stronger and more resilient patients – from an elite triathlete to a geriatric patient with osteoarthritis. Dr Minshull uses key principles, derived from sound evidence in order to guide and develop the thinking of therapists towards strength and conditioning. Strength and conditioning is not only a crucial element in rehabilitation, but also in the prevention of injury and disease.

I enjoyed having access to all the course content to complete at my own pace, as well as the weekly Facebook live sessions. The Facebook group is also of immense value, as therapists from all over the world interact and learn from each other in a constructive manner. I also find myself going back to the online course content, as well as the Facebook live videos in order to review certain content and do further reading on specific areas.

The Future

This course has also inspired me to further my studies. In 2021 I will commence with my Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy. I am passionate about research and I believe that it is our duty as healthcare professionals to ensure that research does not take 17 years to be translated to practice.

While many areas in physiotherapy research are still causing intense debates (especially on social media), one thing is very clear; physical activity is proven to be crucial to our health, yet the rate of preventable lifestyle diseases are increasing.

We have an obligation to guide our patients who are suffering from pain, sickness and disability to more active and ultimately healthier lives. I hope to make a difference by getting people from all ages to be stronger and better conditioned. I truly believe the Strength and Conditioning for Therapists course has made a valuable contribution in my daily journey to become a better physiotherapist.

Read the other fantastic accounts from our previous two brilliant and accomplished Therapists: Santiago Alzate from Columbia and Otieno Martin Ong’wen from Kenya.

Strength & Conditioning For Therapists: Sponsored Place

hands joining together

The aim of the Sponsored Place award is to give one Therapist per enrolment the opportunity to study the Strength & Conditioning For Therapists course who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it, specifically Therapists residing in a developing country, and, or, those in a position of financial hardship. 

If you’re interested in applying for the next award for the March 2021 course, make sure you’re on our mailing list below and you’ll receive all the details when we make the announcement.