Stephen Valassakis talks about his journey to become a Sports Therapist in elite sport
Sports Therapy graduate, Stephen Valassakis, was offered the opportunity to work for Premier League club Burnley F.C., just weeks after graduating from his course.
Stephen, who moved to the UK from Brisbane, Australia before starting the course commented: “Having moved to the UK from Australia a few years earlier, I didn’t know much about UCLan or Preston. However, after being here for three years I can say my experience throughout has been extremely positive and enjoyable.”
"I benefitted from, and enjoyed, the strong mentorship I received throughout my degree where staff are both extremely knowledgeable, invested in their students and are all really friendly. The course was challenging at times but definitely pushed me to develop and improve from an academic, practical and clinical perspective. Throughout the course there have been plentiful opportunities to develop my communication, leadership, clinical, treatment and rehabilitation skills. Moreover, I developed keen interests in injury prevention and performance due to these experiences.”
"The support and guidance from the lecturers, tutors and my fellow students over the last three years has been excellent."— Stephen Valassakis, BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy
During Stephen's third year, he was fortunate to gain a season long placement through UCLan at Premier League Club Burnley FC, where he was responsible for helping the academy players with their rehabilitation after injuries and being on hand at games and training sessions to provide pitch-side medical cover. The Burnley Academy has successfully launched the careers of many top players such as Dwight McNeil, Kyle Lafferty and Jay Rodriguez.
Stephen comments that his course's placement opportunities have been invaluable to his development as a future Sports Therapist. He says: “Such intensive placements aid the rapid development of assessment, treatment and rehabilitation skills, all of which are necessary for a career in this field. Developing key Sports Therapy knowledge, gaining clinical experience and working within a multi-disciplinary team has certainly aided me to develop key communication skills with other health professionals such as strength & conditioning coaches, physiotherapists, doctors, sports scientists and massage therapists."
“The course was also a springboard for further study in an associated Master’s program, such as the MSc (Pre-registration) Physiotherapy " which he commenced shortly after graduating.
After leaving Burnley FC, Stephen has also worked as a 1st Team Physiotherapist at Salford City FC and Head Physiotherapist at Tranmere Rovers FC. He currently works as a physiotherapist in a private practice where he continues to consult sports clubs.