Gregory Duffy – Education as the Catalyst to a Sports Therapy Career
BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy
Gregory Duffy is a true example of what you can achieve when you put your mind into following your passion to fulfil your potential, even when it means overcoming fear and uncertainty.
Gregory came to Ireland 18 years ago from Latvia. He knew few people, was just 22 years old and had a basic level of English. He got a job working as a cobbler’s assistant but he knew that fixing shoes was not his passion. He began ‘searching for a way out’.
Sports have always been his true interest and passion, so he pursued a Personal Trainer course. Realising the scale of injury occurrence in sports, he obtained a certificate in Neuromuscular Therapy.
The next step for Gregory was to follow his passion with a BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy at Portobello Institute.
“At some point in life, we all come to the realisation that something needs to be changed, it can relate to increasing income, improving social status or losing interest in our current job.
“In my belief education is the only way to improve these factors, which will make life happier. Also, education increases self-worth and provides many opportunities and different pathways towards dedication and passion,” he said.
Gregory’s reasons for choosing to study at Portobello Institute echo many of the reasons our students choose us for their path to success such as flexibility, affordability, progression opportunities and location.
“First and foremost, Portobello Institute provides courses that can be integrated into a nowadays busy lifestyle. The existence of choices such as full-time, part-time or blended learning gave me the opportunity to easily integrate study with my busy daily life.
“Another significant factor that caught my eye is that Portobello Institute is more affordable in comparison to other colleges and offers an easy payment option that allows me to easily integrate my education costs into my monthly expenses.
“In addition, the level 8 honours degree in Sports Therapy provided by Portobello Institute gives me an opportunity to apply for further higher education, such as an MSc in Physiotherapy.
“Finally, the location of the college is extremely important. Portobello Institute is based in Dublin City centre, with easy access by public transport, which is very convenient for me,” he said.
This BSc (Hons) in Sports Therapy course not only allowed Gregory to follow his passion, but he even discovered new topics that he is passionate about.
“I am mainly interested in human anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics, which are not the easiest fields of study in my opinion.
“However, increasing my knowledge in these subjects has contributed towards making my life fulfilling and rewarding. I have a passion for developing my skillset in this field of study.
“The sports therapy course offered by Portobello Institute dives deeply and thoroughly into these subjects which provides students with detailed and necessary knowledge.
“Personally, the skills and knowledge that I gained throughout the course helped me to better understand the causality of sporting injuries and to develop, design and tailor appropriate rehabilitation programmes that meet the needs of every individual athlete.
“In addition, during the second year of my study, the college introduced me to my new passion ‘Psychology’.
“This field of knowledge was unknown to me, and at the beginning was a bit hard to grasp. However, in the end, I gained a better understanding of how the human mind works and improved my communication skills, which gave me the opportunity to better understand the needs of the athlete,” he said.
Moving to a new country and learning a new language to restart your life is a massive achievement, but going on to study higher education when English is not your first language brings additional challenges.
Gregory was driven and determined and overcame this discomfort and fear with the support of his classmates and lecturers at Portobello Institute.
“I found my first year of college to be daunting and stressful. Meeting new people, learning new subjects, and organising and prioritising my time was challenging. I was doubtful and uncertain if I was going to succeed, and I thought about this most days.
“The toughest was to overcome my fear of speaking and asking questions in public. As a non-native English speaker, my fear of talking was a huge barrier for me. However, over a period of a few months, with the help of classmates and lecturers, I successfully harnessed this fear.
“My classmates were amazing, at first, we were all shy and distanced ourselves from each other, but in a short period of time, we all began sharing our thoughts and helping each other during difficult times.
“The lecturers were constantly assisting each student and encouraged us prior to every assessment or exam. I still can recall the words, ‘You can do it’, or ‘You are more capable and smarter than you think’ or ‘Just do it’, these words still help me in everyday life, when I feel unsure or uncomfortable,” he said.
“The best thing at Portobello Institute was the lectures. The clear explanation and professionalism that they expressed made the studying process easier.
“The availability of the handout materials and additional recommendations on what most important information needs to be learned makes the study more organised and evident.
“All lecturers were professionals and very good at teaching, but I would like to highlight the most amazing lecturers, that changed my life.
“Cathal Brady is a mentor who has an outstanding level of knowledge in all subjects and always presented with fascinating lectures that always were fun and easy to understand. In addition, a good, thoughtful person who really cares about his students and monitors their progress.
“Ciara Mulrooney, a very serious and strict tutor, that straight to the point, maybe with a few jokes now and again. However, showed high professionalism and knowledge in teaching. Also, always there for any annoying questions and support.
“Brian Spring my dissertation supervisor, guided me during the extremely difficult task of writing the thesis. He showed his professionalism, and knowledge and shared his valuable experience in writing the thesis. His confident knowledge provided me with assurance and motivation to achieve success.
“Specifically for these lecturers, I would like to express my highest respect and gratitude.
“I would highly recommend Portobello Institute to any of my friends or just strangers who ask me about it. I believe that this college is not just a business establishment; it provides superior teaching services and is highly concerned with the success and progress of the students.
“Studying was the best choice of my life. Portobello Institute not only provided me with a high education but also increased my confidence and showed me that I’m worth it, and that hard work pays off. Furthermore, it gives me a chance for future improvement, applying for higher level education, such as a Master’s in Physiotherapy,” he said.
Gregory not only completed his degree but he won an Outstanding Achievement award at Portobello Institute’s graduation ceremony at Croke Park in November 2023. This is a prestigious award that is given to those who have worked extremely hard and overcome obstacles to fulfil their potential and inspired others in doing so.
His life has evolved from uncertainty to a hopeful future in the career he wants with a whole newfound self-confidence and life perspective.
Gregory is now working as a Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer and volunteer in the Bohemian Football Club. For his future, he is looking forward to taking on his MSc in Physiotherapy to continue following his passion.
“The past three years in college have completely transformed my life. Continuous battles with doubts and negative thoughts made me stronger, and continuous challenges changed my state of mind and thoughts.
“I realised that everything is possible. Graduating from college has increased my confidence and self-belief which developed my inner passion for personal growth.
“I improved my communication skills, which gave me the opportunity to build new friendships and better communication with patients. The attained knowledge provided me with a chance to work in the field of my passion, sports and therapy.
“I believe I’ll be in the right place after completing physiotherapy, but my educational journey won’t end there,” he said.
In a final message to anyone considering following their passion through studying, Gregory says:
“Education is the best investment in your life. Take this first step, and don’t wait for that perfect moment, it will never come. Believe in yourself, fulfil yourself with pride and self-respect, and leave your doubts and fears behind your mind, they are just distractions for your personal growth and success,” he said.
Portobello Institute has a dynamic sports department with a range of top qualifications for the next step in your career.
- BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy
- BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science
- BA (Hons) Physical Education
- Graduate Diploma in Physical Education
- MSc Physical Education
- MSc Sports Performance Analysis
- MSc Clinical Exercise Prescription
- MSc Physiotherapy