Multiple Worlds Blending  

Published: Posted on

By Caroline White

I am just about to celebrate my two-year anniversary this month of leaving full-time sport and entering the world of academia. A lot has happened over this two-year period as I began almost a new career and not knowing, especially in the early days, if I had made the right decision.  

When I first started, I remember my assigned office was a tiny two-person office with a colleague whom I’d only met once in 5 months. When GSSPP was set up, one of the key aspects was to have a shared office space for us all to work in, discuss ideas and build relationships. This has certainly changed a lot of things for me, creating a sense of belonging, expanding my thought process and, at times fun/laughter. But it has helped me transition from leaving full-time sport, which is the world I have been caught up in for over 12 years. Sharing an office with sports scientists, physiologists, coaches, and analysts is something I am a lot more familiar with than researchers. Although everyone in GSSPP is a researcher themselves, who have had a similar experience to myself, of numerous years working in industry before taking the plunge into researcher/academia.  

In a strange way, I should be calling myself a researcher?! I started my Professional Doctorate in September 2022, investigating shoulder injuries in elite female rugby players, and I’m mid-data collection. Interviewing various players and practitioners in the women’s game about their experiences of shoulder injuries and how it has affected their performance. Yet, using the term researcher still feels very foreign to me. This might be because my previous perceptions of research were of something that was completed in a controlled environment that had very little relevance or application to my work in the sports industry. But things are starting to change…  

Professor Barry Drust regularly talks about “translational knowledge” in the GSSPP meetings and with his professional doctorate students. I feel this resonates a lot more with me than the term researcher. I still work in elite sports as a consultant with a few teams alongside my academic responsibilities while trying to complete my professional doctorate research. This is a juggling act and I am regularly seen whizzing in and out of the office, ricocheting between various different projects, teaching sessions and student meetings. But rather than splitting myself into three different people- a physiotherapist, an academic and a researcher, there is a more blended approach with the knowledge I am acquiring from each of these roles interlinked while being supported by my newly acquired multiple disciplinary team- The GSSPP Gang.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *