Tracy Lewis

Job title Head of Physiotherapy

Employer The Football Association

"I love working with elite athletes"

You’re Head of Physiotherapy for the women’s game at the Football Association. What does the role of a physiotherapist involve?
Physiotherapists treat athletes with sports injuries. They identify the injury and then devise a programme to improve the movement and function of the injured area. They also provide advice on how to avoid injury.

Football matches don’t happen every day, so what does a typical working week involve?
I work with the injured footballers and arrange physiotherapy for these players. I liaise with the clubs about the player’s injuries and travel around the UK as and when required to assess these players. I design rehabilitation programmes for players as and when required. I teach the medical content on FA coaching courses. Travelling with a squad involves daily assessment and treatment for all players around the training schedule. During an international match I provide pitch-side medical assessment.

What do you love most about your job?
I love working with elite athletes who are focused and motivated. Travelling with squads for camps and competition is also great fun, as is working with a great team of players and staff who are dedicated and supportive.

“Volunteer with a sports organisation/team to gain experience. Experience a day in the life of a sports physiotherapist by shadowing a physiotherapist for a day”

What are the main challenges in your role?
Long hours and sometimes unsocial hours when travelling. You also spend a lot of time away from friends and family, which means missing family occasions (birthdays, anniversaries etc due to international fixture list).

Which qualifications do you recommend for someone looking to pursue a career in physiotherapy?
Universities usually look for A Levels Grade B/C. One A Level should be in biological science. Students should also hold a minimum of five GCSEs at grade C and above and include Maths, English Language and Sciences.

What other qualifications do would-be physiotherapists need?
Complete your hospital/clinic rotations as a junior physiotherapist to gain all round experience before specialising. Also, volunteer with a sports organisation/team to gain experience. Experience a day in the life of a sports physiotherapist by shadowing a physiotherapist for a day.

What sort of salary can a sports physiotherapist expect?
This will depend on where and who you work for and your level of experience. Salaries can range from £30,000 upwards.