Meet the Team - Kerri Surman

1. What made you decide to train as a physiotherapist?

I wanted to work in sport, so initially did a degree in Sports Therapy which gave me amazing skills in exercise prescription, physiology, sports specific injury management and rehab. To progress into professional sport, I then trained as a Physiotherapist.

2. What has been your career path?

After my sports therapy degree I worked in private practice and within women’s football, notably Bedfordshire FA with the senior county squad. Physiotherapy led me into the NHS where I trained and worked for seven and a half years, the final two years as a senior musculoskeletal physiotherapist where I worked in the fracture clinic, the sports injury clinic and the main outpatient clinic. I ran the hydrotherapy class and led several circuits, shoulder rehab and ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) rehab classes. I was also responsible for the education of student physiotherapists within our department and supervising junior physiotherapists. Alongside the NHS I worked privately and for a tennis academy – I don’t know how I found the time!

I then moved into sport taking a role as Head Academy Physiotherapist at a league 1 football club. After my first season I was promoted to Head of Academy Sports Science and Medicine which made me responsible for the fitness of the players as well as the injury prevention and management. I developed an injury prevention programme to reduce the rates of muscle injury within the full-time academy players. With a great team of sports scientists and sports therapists to help implement the programme we managed to reduce the muscular injury rates by a substantial amount.

After 3 seasons in football I moved full-time into private practice where I am now. I see a mixed caseload of injuries which I love because of the variety I have every day - but my passion remains in sport.

3. Do you have any role models/people that inspire you?

No one in particular. I think most people can be inspiring in some form. That’s why being a physiotherapist is such a privilege – we get to know people very well - what they have achieved, overcome or are striving for – this is where I find my inspiration.

4. What has been your best experience as a physiotherapist?

Running a department in a professional sports club has so far been my best experience – it grew me inexorably as a person and a physiotherapist. The pressures were extreme, the emotions of the players and staff could be extreme, but it was so much fun and such a joy to see young players develop into grown men achieving their ambitions of turning pro and moving on to bigger and better clubs.

I feel pride in what I achieved while I was there – my injury prevention programme had a tremendous amount of thought, science and planning behind it but it was tough to make the players do extra exercise sessions!! And it was only at the end of the season once I had analysed the injury statistics that I knew it had worked.

5. What are your areas of special interest?

* Running related injuries

* Sports rehab – by this I mean taking somebody all the way back to their sport. This can involve more complex, challenging rehab focussed on prevention of further injury by ensuring the person is more robust and their body is able to cope with the demands of their sport.

* Shockwave and Acupuncture

* Neck pain and headache

6. What is your favourite part of being a physiotherapist?

I enjoy the variety of my day – not just because I could end up treating 20 people in one day but even if all 20 had a knee injury, they would all be different. They will all have different hobbies, different levels of activity or fitness, different goals for their treatment and they all have unique personalities and life stories. I really enjoy getting to know people, having a laugh with people and helping them recover as effectively and successfully as possible.

7. Are there any courses/higher education you are planning on attending/working towards?

Having achieved a PGCert in Sports Physiotherapy I think I am finished with university education at least for now! I am planning on attending a specific running injury course to see if there is anything I can add to my repertoire and am interested in learning more about physiotherapy intervention for headaches.

8. What do you do when you are not working?

Recover from being a physio – it can be pretty hard graft!

Go to the gym and run, spend time with my nieces and have the occasional weekend away with my partner!

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