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Sheffield 160: Sports Therapist Neil Snelson

11:59 AMAleks Vee

by Aleks V |

2017 marks the 160th anniversary of the world's first football club, Sheffield FC. Sheffield 160 is a bi-weekly series that goes behind the scenes of the historic club through interviews with players and staff.

This week, Aleks chats with sports therapist, Neil Snelson, who works with the Sheffield FC Ladies Development Team.

All photos - Sheffield FC via Flickr.


How did you come to be involved with Sheffield FC?
I first came to Sheffield FC Ladies towards the end of the 2010/11 season with my daughter, Jodie Michalska, when she joined the club. She was at Lincoln FC, but after the birth of of her daughter in December 2010, decided to find a club closer to home.

As they did not have any medical cover and I'm a sports therapist, I volunteered to do it. I covered all match days and training sessions until [the team] were promoted into Super League 2, when my qualifications did not match the FA requirements and my business would not allow me to get to all the games. 

I also covered for the missed men's first team physio when she was on holiday early in the season and finished up doing the whole season, but could not continue as I was never at work. I now look after the Ladies Development Team on match days whenever I can.

Were there any games that stood out to you in the years you've been at Sheffield?
The most dramatic was the one where they got promoted into the Super League. It was non-stop excitement throughout and a great ending.

You mentioned you now work with the Ladies Development Team. What's a typical day like, and how does it differ from working with the first team?
I only look after them on match days. The girls are younger and shy at first, but they soon gain confidence. I try to get them ready to play with massage, stretching, strapping, or whatever else they need, even if it's a chat or a hair bobble.



Did you always want to work in sports therapy, or was there a point when you considered playing football?
I was never much of a player, and I only started as a sports therapist eight years ago. I was given the bucket and sponge a few years before when my kids started playing, as I had first aid training. I started learning as much as I could to try to help the kids and realised it was very rewarding, so I took a couple of diplomas in sport therapy and sports electro therapy and packed in my job and started up on my own as a therapist.

What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
My biggest challenge for my own job at the moment is fitting everyone in that needs me. The biggest challenge looking after the girls is looking after them instead of doing my day job, but I do get a lot of pleasure from it. When at a game, the hardest thing is consoling players that are on the bench as they sometimes feel hard done to, but that is always tough as they all want to play.

What is something most people probably don't know about working in sports therapy?
You can call your self a sports therapist with any qualifications, which is very annoying, and most therapists are crippled with arthritis in their hands at a young age, but they still continue working.

Neil Snelson works as a Sports Therapist for the Sheffield FC Ladies Development Team.

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Read more on Sheffield 160 here.
Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #Sheffield160.

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