Supporting the health of athletes has been a passion for Mallory, starting with her time as a student trainer with UBC varsity athletes to being the lead therapist for the Canadian women’s national soccer team. Learn about her experience at UBC and her journey to helping Canada get its first gold medal in women’s football at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics!
What drew you to pursuing a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) degree at UBC?
Having completed my undergrad at UBC in Kinesiology, I knew that the city, campus, and school were great. I started working as a student trainer with the UBC Men’s Rugby program in my last year of Kinesiology and knew that I would love to continue working with them throughout the MPT program. The practical experience and the UBC Athletics community was a huge draw to pursue the MPT program at UBC.
What is one thing that you are taking with you from your experience in the MPT program?
Two main ones would be time management and ‘people skills’!
What did you enjoy most about the program?
The diversity of the placements that I had were the highlight of the program for me. UBC MPT program has so many opportunities, some that might help rule out areas of focus (which is valuable!), and other which may open doors which you did not know you were interested in. I had the opportunity to complete an international placement in Sri Lanka – it was an amazing experience and a highlight of the program for me.
What is one piece of advice you have for students entering the MPT program?
Use the program as a learning opportunity and stay open minded – it is tough and it is not always going to be easy, but if you follow your values and what you are hoping to get out of the program then I believe you’ll succeed.
For a more concrete piece of advice, have an outlet outside of the program – family, work, sport- whatever it is for you! Continuing to work as a student trainer with UBC Rugby was my place outside the classroom and looking back, it was exactly what I needed, despite it feeling very time consuming in the moment.
As you look ahead, who inspires you?
Currently, it is Canadian athletes and the staff who support them. Elite sport in Canada can have its challenges and seeing these athletes inspire others is inspiring in itself. Go Canada Go!
Name one thing on your bucket list. Have you completed it?
Supporting a Canadian team at the Olympics – completing it now!
Who do you work for and what is your job title?
I work for the Canadian Soccer Association as the lead therapist with the Women’s National Team.
What are you doing at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics?
Supporting the Canadian Women’s soccer team and helping ‘change the colour of the medal’ as a team staff member.
How did your experience in the MPT program prepare you for working with Olympic athletes?
The practical experience of working with others in a professional setting and completing diverse placements, as well as volunteering with a sport team while completing the program helped lead to varying work experiences post-grad. It was those work and volunteer experiences which eventually prepared me for working with Olympic athletes.
What does it mean to you to be able to work as a physical therapist for the Olympic team?
It means everything to be able to be a part of Team Canada – when your day-to-day for years is supporting athletes, being able to help them achieve their dreams is very rewarding. Being a part of Team Canada where over half of the athletes are female and working with a sport where the majority of the staff are also female, makes me feel extra thankful to be a Canadian physiotherapist working in sport.
Working in elite sport is not a quick process – it takes time, a lot of hours and prioritizing it over other aspects of life which you also value. It also is not all ‘glamorous’, but it is definitely rewarding, and I couldn’t be more thankful for my experiences and my ‘key people’ that have gotten me here as well as the current opportunity that I have with this impressive group of players and staff. Go Canada Go! And all the best to all of the UBC MPT students!