Sports therapist Jeni Sturgess has travelled all over the world keeping the British Para Swimming team in peak physical condition. But it was her time at Edge Hill that helped her develop the confidence and skills to pursue a career in elite sport and start her own business.
While studying, Jeni undertook placements with a range of high profile organisations, including Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings and St Helen’s RLFC, as well as working with England Women’s Student Rugby League, which ensured she was “100 per cent prepared” for employment when she graduated.
“I learned so much from those placements,” says Jeni, “and from my course as a whole. I still use what I learned in my day to day job, particularly around assessing patients. Differential diagnosis – thinking outside the box and considering a range of factors when determining what’s wrong with a patient – is a skill I gained at Edge Hill that is key to the way I work today.”
After freelancing at a number of clinics in the North West, Jeni starting teaching at Warrington Collegiate on the Level 3 Sports Massage and HND Sport and Exercise Science programmes. She then began working with British Gymnastics as a soft tissue therapist for the GB Trampolining team, and also at the English Institute of Sport. She then moved to the British Paralympic Swimming team, accompanying them to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and to the World Championships in Mexico in 2017.
“Travelling with the team is an honour,” says Jeni. “Going to Rio was a great experience – seeing the athletes I’d worked with compete in such an historic event gave me a great sense of pride. It’s amazing to be part of that. When you see the end result of all the hard work, it’s nice to think you helped along the way.”
As well as working with elite athletes, Jeni also has her own business, Maximise Sports Therapy based in Warrington, where she provides weekend runners and office workers with sports massage, rehabilitation and acupuncture.
“It’s good to have that mix of elite athletes and the general public as you’re constantly dealing with different injuries,” she says. “My aim is to continue building the business while supporting the British Para teams. At the moment I’ve got my hands full but who knows what the future holds?”
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