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Chris Onoufriou BSc Physiotherapy, 2018

Under 18’s Physiotherapist at Southampton Football Club

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Hi I'm Chris Onoufriou and studied Physiotherapy at the University of Southampton.

Towards the end of my second rotation a job came up at Southampton Football Club as one of their Under 18s Physiotherapists. I was again fortunate enough to get the job following a tough interview process and now I am working my dream job.

Why did you choose Southampton?

The University of Southampton was a great option for me; not only did I value its Russell Group status but it also offered great facilities and the structure of the course suited me. I found the lecturers very friendly at the Open Days and there was a great vibe about the place.

How did you find your studies?

I found lecturers created a relaxed and fun environment to learn in, for the theory components of the course, but still provided detailed resources to help consolidate this teaching. I really enjoyed the practical sessions of the course; our placements provided great opportunities to meet potential future employers. If we did well within a particular placement, the supervisors often said they would like us to come back once we'd qualified. 

Could you give an example of a placement you undertook?

I undertook a one-week observation placement in a neuro-centre and a six-week musculoskeletal out-patients placement. Not only did I learn so much but I also got to know qualified physiotherapists who were happy to answer questions and pass on valuable extra skills. Outside of placements, we were also given the opportunity to study other related subjects such as massage or taping courses, organised externally, to further our skill set once more.

Did you get involved in any activities outside the course that enhanced your learning?

I became a Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) representative, which meant that I represented my University and cohort on our governing body. Attending meetings as a CSP rep aided my communication skills and helped me build networks across all the universities. These contacts were priceless as we all supported and helped each other. I was also involved in the start-up of the Physiotherapy Society. This allows Physiotherapy students in all three years to be able to mix and get to know each other better.

Did you secure a job before you graduated and can you tell us about how you came to work for Southampton Football Club?

Following graduation I had my heart set on working in London. I was fortunate to have been offered a job at Kingston Hospital after my first interview, and once I had seen their support structure, it was a no brainer to accept the job. During my time at Kingston I learnt so much as well as made great friends. My first two rotations included musculoskeletal (msk) adults outpatients and msk paediatric outpatients. Towards the end of my second rotation a job came up at Southampton Football Club as one of their Under 18s Physiotherapists. I was again fortunate enough to get the job following a tough interview process and now I am working my dream job.

Could you tell us about the Physiotherapy work that you do for the Under 18’s at Southampton FC?

At Southampton I mainly work with the U18 squad but also help out with the U23s squad when required. We look after the players on a daily basis working with both the non-injured and injured players. With the non-injured players we work a lot on injury prevention through movement control and prehab strategies to target areas the players need improvement on. Whilst these player are out training we then treat the injured players which includes strategies for both acute and chronic injuries.

What advice would you give to aspiring physiotherapists?

During your studies I would say do not panic. There is so much you will learn once qualified, focus on learning the basics well and being safe with your future patients. The experience and extra knowledge comes in time. I would also say make sure you utilise your lecturer’s knowledge and don’t be afraid to ask them questions. Before graduating I would advise to get in contact with potential employers and ask if you could visit the site and show your interest as this often sits well with the employers.

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