June 2023

Sports therapy graduate wins best injury clinic for second year in a row

By Killoran Wills

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Sports therapist Stacey Naylor – who set up her own clinic just after graduating from University College Birmingham where she received huge help with her dyslexia to gain her degree – has won a top award for the second year running.

Stacey’s SN-Clinic, just outside Dudley town centre, has won Sports Injury Clinic of the Year 2022/23 in the Central England category of the Prestige Awards, after scooping the same award last year.

And this year keeps on getting better and better for Sports Therapy BSc (Hons) graduate Stacey as she prepares to move to a much bigger premises in the town in July, exactly eight years after she first set up in business following her graduation from the University.

The expansion means she will have two treatment rooms, a reception and waiting room, two full-time therapists and a receptionist, with plans to build on this further. To boot, the new clinic will have a website, logo and social media profiles as part of a full rebrand.

"The encouragement from the lecturers allowed me to think I could do this"

Stacey Naylor Sports Therapy BSc (Hons)

With a relentless drive to help clients with various and complex injuries achieve a better quality of life, Stacey and her team focus on the treatment and prevention of musculoskeletal disorders including complex injuries.

“Being a sports therapist is something that has been immensely rewarding,” said Stacey, whose clients range from a six-year-old to an 89-year-old who loves her gardening and wants to keep strong and confident. “I’m now looking forward to taking the business even further.”

Stacey’s growing reputation for excellence, client satisfaction and trust saw the clinic scoop Sports Injury Clinic of the Year 2021/22 in the Central England category of the Prestige Awards, as well as being voted Top 3 Massage Therapists in Dudley by ThreeBestRated.com.

However, it all started by accident. Stacey had originally contemplated a career in nursing because she knew she wanted to help people and had volunteered in a nursing home. But after attending an open day at University College Birmingham, everything changed.

She took up a place at a five-day summer camp, which none of the other universities were offering at the time. “It really opened my eyes to the opportunities that were available to me,” she said.

Without conventional entry qualifications, Stacey’s potential was noticed by lecturers – she achieved three distinctions in her public service BTEC National Diploma and had volunteered with a number of organisations – and she was offered a place.

“But I hadn’t a clue about the body,” admitted Stacey. “In one of our first lessons, we were asked to name all the bones in a skeleton, and I couldn’t name one! I said to the lecturer: ‘I think I am going to need some help here’.”

Stacey's injury clinic offers a variety of treatments

Dyslexia diagnosis and support

The help Stacey received was fundamental to her success at University College Birmingham and included a lightbulb moment in her second year when a lecturer suggested she should be tested for dyslexia.

When the diagnosis came through, everything made sense: “I had struggled with my coursework. I was dyslexic and hadn’t realised it,” she said.

From then on, Stacey was given additional support and attended weekly sessions where she could go over assignment work and be prompted to ask lecturers for further information.

“I found I learned better using pictures and images – and now that’s what we use at the clinic to demonstrate to clients what is wrong with them.”

But it was the clinic sessions as part of Stacey’s course that gave her the confidence to set up her own business.

“The clinic room group was very small and rather than working in twos and threes, it forced me to work on my own,” she said. “That, and the encouragement from the lecturers, allowed me to think I could do this.”

She finished her course in the June, opened her clinic in July and graduated in the September.

University College Birmingham offers a range of services for students who need study support

Bags of experience

While establishing the business from premises next to her family home, Stacey took on a variety of part-time jobs to gain experience and widen her skills, including working within the FA Centre of Excellence with visually impaired and deaf youth footballers helping them with sports injuries, fitness assessments and coaching.

“I also had experience working within men’s football providing pitchside treatments, rehabilitation and sports massage and then worked within a personal training studio, designing injury-based exercise programmes for those in need, pre and post stretching and sports therapy treatments,” she said.

She also worked within a chiropractic clinic alongside other professionals helping with injury assessments, and gained qualifications in spinal manipulation, medical acupuncture, fire cupping, kinesiology taping and electrotherapy.

And although university is behind her, Stacey knows she will never stop learning.  She is planning more CPD sessions for herself and her team to ensure they can offer the latest treatments to their clients.

Find out more about our Sports Therapy degree and other sports-related courses, from BTECs to postgraduate degrees, within our Department of Sport and Nutrition.

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