Diane Ryding & David Fevre at the Injury Rehab Network

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Our first (post lockdown) face-to-face Injury Rehab Network event with BASRaT took place on Monday 22nd November at UA92 in Manchester.

The expert guest speakers for this landmark event of the Injury Rehab Network were professional football physiotherapists Diane Ryding and David Fevre who kindly provided a joint presentation about developing a career in sports rehabilitation in professional football.

Diane’s presentation, “Physiotherapy in an elite football academy: Beyond injuries” focused on the growth and maturation of young athletes and the soft skills required by sports rehabilitation professionals to provide a child-centred approach. Read the post event blog here.

David’s presentation, “Pitch side injuries – No time to be injured – Prequel and sequel included” considered the level of care required for the athlete from the medical team, injury prevention (prequel) and possible injury reoccurrence (sequel). Read the post event blog here.

This first in-person event since lockdown took place at UA92 in Manchester. The superb facilities at UA92 provided the ideal location with high tech conference facilities and plenty of space for social distancing. Around sixty people attended in person with a further one hundred joining online for the presentations from Diane and David.

Delegates were welcomed by UA92, BASRaT and Sterosport by Dr Eoin Murray, Oliver Coburn, and Andrew Watson, respectively.

Physiquipe and Winback Medical kindly supported the event and provided workshop presentations and demonstrations about direct focused shockwave and Tecartherapy.

All income from the event has been donated to Manchester-based charity, The Running Bee Foundation. Through The Running Bee Foundation events, the charity champions health and wellbeing initiatives to promote the benefits of an active lifestyle and help in the fight to reduce childhood obesity. The Running Bee Foundation make funding accessible to all parts of communities across Manchester with no restriction on age, financial status, religion, or gender. The Running Bee Mascot, Mo Bee was at the event and very popular with delegates who were ‘buzzing’ to meet him.

Diane Ryding is Head Physiotherapist for the Foundation and Youth Development Phases at Manchester United Football Club (MUFC). Diane received her BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy from Manchester University in 2000 and worked in the NHS for the next decade. In 2010 she received her MSc in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy from Manchester Metropolitan University.

David Fevre is currently working as a freelance clinician/ lecturer in physiotherapy and sports injury rehabilitation. He has consultancy roles with several European, Premiership, Championship and EFL football clubs and is on the teaching faculty for both the Football Association (FA) and Rugby Football League (RFL). He was Head of Sports Medicine for Blackburn Rovers FC until January 2017, having been in post since July 1999.

Prior to this, he was previously the Chartered Physiotherapist for Wales (2002-2005), Manchester United FC (1994-1999), Great Britain Rugby League (1990-1994), Wigan RL (1989-1994) and Leigh RL (1984-1989). He worked in the NHS immediately after gaining his Chartered status and then within several sports injury clinics based in the private hospital sector prior to these full-time posts in elite sport.

Top Tips for Working in Professional Football

Diane and David took delegates through an insightful presentation, full of top tips and useful advice about working in professional football:

Role of a Sports Physio

David described the varied role of a sports physio including:

  • Work as part of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT)
  • Profiling
  • Injury assessment and diagnosis
  • Pitchside injury and emergency care
  • Rehabilitation – return to training and competition
  • Injury analysis and research

Pros and Cons of Working in Sport

David discussed the pros of working in sport including how rewarding a role can be in being part of an athlete’s development, part of a team, having time to work with individual athletes/ players and at the top-level having access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.

The many opportunities afforded to sports rehabilitation professionals were described by David including travel, involvement in large matches/ competition, access to ongoing CPD and the ability to be active as part of the job.

The challenges associated with the professional sport were also discussed by David including the high level of commitment and flexibility required, long hours and time away from home, being on call, and sometimes a lack of job security in the cutthroat and competitive world of professional sport.

Tips for Working in Sport

Diane provided great advice for anyone wanting to work in professional sport with top tips including:

  • Understand the specific demands of the sport
  • Take opportunities
  • Be flexible
  • Have appropriate skills for the role e.g., first aid and emergency care
  • Good clinical skills
  • Ensure you have the relevant insurance in place
  • Work effectively as part of a team
  • Do not fall into bad habits/ cut corners e.g., always take notes
  • Be resilient
  • Have good communication skills
  • Learn from other members of the interdisciplinary team (IDT)
  • Do not be undervalued and taken advantage of as a volunteer

How to Get Involved in Sport

Diane presented a range of helpful ideas for how to get involved in sport including where to find opportunities (useful websites like FMPA and UK Sport), volunteering, and approaching clubs with your CV. Diane also described the courses and skills that are essential including first aid, manual therapy, and sport-specific networking.

How to Get Involved in Academy Football

Diane described the essential and desirable skills for therapists working in academy football. Essential qualifications and experience include a physiotherapy or related degree, registration with a relevant professional association e.g., CSP, BASRaT, experience, good communication skills and the ability to work well with children.

Desirable skills may include previous experience in football, paediatric experience, an MSc in an appropriate subject, first aid and emergency care qualifications.

Take-Home Messages

  • Teamwork and communication are essential when part of a multi/ inter-disciplinary team
  • Sports team physiotherapists/ rehabilitators wear many hats
  • Importance of regular screening and assessments
  • Use data to inform rehab and injury prevention programmes
  • Emergency care qualifications and training are essential
  • Clinical skills provide the foundation for everything
  • Working in professional sport can be rewarding yet demanding
  • Academy therapists should understand the differences between children and adults
  • Child-centred assessments, understanding and monitoring of growth and maturation is essential in academy football
  • Empower players to take ownership of their rehabilitation
  • The importance of movement through all phases of injury rehabilitation

Follow the Guest Speakers

Follow Diane and David at the links below:


Diane Ryding – @dryding


Diane Ryding
David Fevre

Be the First to Know About the Next Event of the Injury Rehab Network

Sign up for the Sterosport newsletter at the bottom of the home page to get all the updates on future Injury Rehab Network events. Register your interest in events in 2022 here. Why not join the LinkedIn group too? To find out more contact Andrew Watson on andrew@steroplast.co.uk / 0161 902 3030.

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