Donna Power – From Beauty Therapist to Sports Therapist Inspired by her Children

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy


Sports therapy was the furthest thing from Donna Power’s mind when she was a teenager. Soon to be a mother and a wife with her own home, it continued to be the furthest thing from her mind throughout her twenties.

It wasn’t until her young children started to play sports that the concept of sports therapy materialised in her mind.

While working as a beauty therapist from home during the day, Donna spent her evenings travelling to training pitches or standing on the sidelines watching different games when her first child was old enough. Her second and third children followed suit, building out her family while she continued in her career.

It was as hectic as it’s meant to be when you’re raising three children. Donna likely saw that coming and embraced the joyous challenges of motherhood.

But then came the injuries and those were the frenetic moments that she couldn’t impact.

“I think it was a control thing, why can’t I fix these issues myself? Just constantly being on the sidelines at matches, it was something I decided I might look into doing. I didn’t realise sports therapy was an actual thing. I thought it was literally just physical therapy. I’ve been standing on the sidelines for the last 20-odd years. I may as well do something constructive with it,” she said.

Donna had never had any interest in sports, never mind sports therapy. Her husband had played when they were younger, but she had only ever been interested in dancing. She was active but never injured. It wasn’t until she took up running in her thirties that she became more aware of the challenges that come with playing sport. 

“My husband would always be injured but it never affected me as much until I started paying for the kids to see physios or be in and out of Temple Street with them. Then when I took up running myself in my early thirties and just from joining gyms and stuff, it went from there,” she said.

She took a path through Colaiste Idé on a PLC course before the guidance counsellor there directed her to Portobello Institute.  

The level 6 qualification she gained in Sports and Exercise at Colaiste Idé gave Donna advanced entry into Year 2 of the BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree programme. This fast-tracked her path to graduation.

“Everything I was looking at was physical therapy and I didn’t want to work in a hospital. I came across the PLC in Colaiste Idé. It had sports massage and pilates in it, I said I’d give that a go,” she said.

Although joking that it was just a mid-life crisis, Donna discovered an affinity for sports therapy during her PLC course that set her up to apply to Portobello Institute.

“The pilates actually really helped me understand that a lot of my injuries would have stemmed from poor core. It comes back to pregnancies. As well there are injuries like the kids constantly getting ankle injuries that you can’t really prevent while they’re playing football.  

“These things are going to happen. It’s knowing whether it’s serious enough to bring them into A&E or stick a bag of ice on it or give them stretches to work it out. I’m finding that clearer from going into college,” she said.

Donna recalls witnessing kids getting injured over the years and the frustration that built in her when she didn’t know what the right thing to do was. She even had the unfortunate experience of watching a child die on the field in front of her. 

“A few years ago my son was playing a match and a kid on his team dropped dead on the pitch. It was really horrific. It was one of those heart issues. From then I looked into joining a local group who were responders if someone had a heart attack and the ambulance was too far away. 

“They train you up on how to do life-saving. My mind was kind of going in a lot of different directions. Really I wanted to help people and I was thinking if I was at a match again and something like that happened I’d hate to just have to stand there not knowing the right thing to do,” she said.

As a mature student returning to education for sports therapy, Donna was overwhelmed initially but has found her rhythm after sticking with it. She’s now working as a club team physio with a women’s national club team. 

The more information she’s taken in during her course the more she’s recognised the frustration of being injured and how the understanding of those injuries makes recovery not only better and faster but easier on the athlete.

“I do find if I know how it happened, why it happened and what I can do to help it along, I don’t feel as frustrated. Or if it’s one of the kids I don’t feel as panicky.  

“I feel more at ease knowing how to treat it,” she said.

Donna has also felt more at ease in the sports therapy degree the more time she’s spent on the course. 

“I was filled with dread thinking maybe I’m not able for this…but I have to say it’s actually not at all what I was expecting. The workload suits me. It’s more evenly spread in Portobello, which is easier for me to handle. Portobello’s modules are quality over quantity,” she said.

Donna can thank her kids for her newfound passion in life and she’s thankful for Portobello helping her to achieve her goals in sports therapy.

Portobello Institute has a dynamic sports department with a range of top qualifications for the next step in your career.

If you are interested in any of our sports courses or have any questions you can book a consultation call with our expert sports advisor Jason Lester, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0029. 

Read More: Discover Sports Therapy as a Diverse and Rewarding Career Path

Donna Power – From Beauty Therapist to Sports Therapist Inspired by her Children Donna Power – From Beauty Therapist to Sports Therapist Inspired by her Children