Thomas Maher – Sports Therapy and Stepping Forward with Portobello Institute
Alumni of Sports Therapy
Sports Therapy has always existed in Thomas Maher’s life. He didn’t always know it and he never really knew what it was, but it was always there.
Running his own gym and instructing his own students for years while doing his own training and competing, Thomas was always injured. His injuries were so common and so prominent that he became the go-to guy for anyone who was hurt around him. He was no doctor but he could impart the wisdom he had gleaned from his own experiences.
Before joining Portobello Institute’s BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy degree, Thomas openly admitted that he didn’t know what he was talking about. But he wanted to know what he was talking about. He wanted to help everyone around him.
Of course, that doesn’t mean it was going to be easy to do so.
Going back to college at 45 years old isn’t easy, even if Thomas makes it look easy.
“If you want to do it you do it and that’s it.” Tommy’s friends doubted him when he decided to attend a PLC course in personal training that had some Sports Therapy in it. Once he got a taste of what he could learn, he was all in, “That’s what life is all about. Just do what makes you happy. I’m very content with what I do.”
His PLC course gave him his first step but left him wanting a lot more.
Most of his classmates in the PLC didn’t want anything passed what they had gotten. Tommy saw Portobello Institute as the next step and he wasn’t going to stop where he was, “The course content was very good…when I walked into the class I think a few of them thought I was a lecturer, but once you got the first couple of weeks in everyone kind of settled down.”
Although he stood out at first, there was real value in Tommy being a mature student. He knew what he wanted. He had a clear purpose of why he was attending his Sports Therapy classes and what outcomes he wanted to gain.
That sometimes put him above the younger Sports Therapy students who were still finding their way.
“I’ve chosen my path and I have a bit of life experience behind me. I know what hasn’t worked for me in the past and I’ve now found something which I’m passionate about. I’m genuinely interested in learning and I want to do it even though it can be difficult for me at times. There are different areas of the course that I might struggle on and there are other parts that I might excel on.”
One area that Tommy really struggled with at the start was academic writing and learning through technology.
“I was trying to put it in my own words and I suppose it wasn’t too eloquent.
I used to give it to the lecturer and say ‘Tell me straight. What should I do?’ I’d go away, come back and they’d say ‘That’s a bit better, you might just have to change that part.’
The more you write and the more you read, you kind of get into the language of what you’re reading and you translate that back onto the paper yourself.
I actually enjoy academic writing now.”
Because of Portobello’s Sports Therapy course, Tommy was able to close his gym and set up a clinic instead.
“As I have progressed through the three years, I got a more in-depth understanding of anatomy and physiology, I’ve been able to apply that when I needed to. That’s grown my business as well now. I would have a fairly good clientele base at the moment.”
A Sports Therapy clinic is just the start. He plans to reopen a gym that is joined to the clinic at a later date, but he’s also intent on pursuing a masters. He’s targeting some of the most competitive masters degrees in the country.
“I’m going to stay on this path I’m on at the moment, eventually I want to do a masters. But before then I’ll work for a while and get a bit more experience with a few more athletes, especially with teams because that’s central to what you need going into that masters.”
Regardless of where Tommy continues his education and what line of work he continues in, his degree from Portobello and his time studying has invigorated his ambition. His positive outlook and frank approach to his education allowed him to excel in education.
“I’m stepping forward, I’m not going back anyway and that’s the main thing.”