Chris came late to Physiotherapy, via a health science degree in genetics and after 8 years of research in the UK (@ the young age of 39) decided to pivot into Physiotherapy in Perth. What happens over the next 15 years is an extraordinary path to completing both his Masters in MSK & Sports Physiotherapy, working at one of the most advanced sports rehabilitation clinics in Canada and being the Physiotherapist for the Canadian Womens Rugby team having a crack at the World Cup.
Listen to find out how did he achieve this and what were his key decisions.
Along the way Chris provides insight into;
You can watch this interview on YouTube.
Thanks for listening.
I graduated from Curtin University with a Graduate-Entry Masters degree in 2010, after previously having completed a degree and research in Genetics. I worked at Ascend Physiotherapy for 8 years, and meanwhile, in 2012 I started my Clinical Masters in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, which I finished in 2013. I then went back to complete my Sports Physiotherapy Masters in 2014.
I have always been heavily involved in Sports, working largely in rugby and netball in my earlier days. I started working with the West Coast Fever in 2013, and took over as Head Physio in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 I then moved to Canada, and worked with the Canadian National Women’s Rugby Team until moving back to Perth in 2021, where I now work with the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) as an embedded Physiotherapist in the Swimming Program. In 2022 I was Head Physio for the Australian Women’s hockey team (Hockeyroos), including the Hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. I was also lucky enough to work with the Australian swim team (Dolphins) at the 2022 World Short Course Championships. My next role is to work with the National Australian artistic swimming team, as well as return to rehab clinical work.d
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This is your fortnightly installment where I interview a trailblazing physiotherapist that has shaped the profession we're journey, knowledge and insights. You gain the opportunity to plan and guide your own professional journey. My name is Doug Carey, and welcome to Physio Plus 10. Welcome you and previous listeners to Physio Plus 10. Thanks for joining us again. Our special guest for today's conversation is with Chris Perry. Welcome, Chris. Thank you. Um, look, we start these off by asking the guests just to give us a bit of a background about sort of where they grew up and what your earliest schooling was. Um, well I grew up in England, so New Zealand born, but grew up in sort of a little bit in Australia and mainly in England. Um, not to educated parents, so both my parents, I think finished school at 15, but were very supportive of my schooling. Um, and then I, I, I actually did genetics as a first degree at university, um, in the uk. And then I worked in research for, um, 12 years after that. Uh, and so I came into physio quite late. So I moved to Australia in, um, 2007. So I was 35, 36 at that point. Uh, and did physio as a second career basically. So, um, I did the, um, the graduate entry masters at Curin. Now, before we, like, I didn't know any of that, so I'm just wanna unpack that a little bit. Why did you do genetics? Um, I, I mean, I was, uh, you come out of college in the UK at age 17, 18, and I didn't know what I wanted to do. Um, I started off doing medicinal chemistry, which was, I only lasted two weeks. It was definitely not for me. And so, uh, I had to look for something else, basically. And genetics seemed quite sort of, um, it, it was one of these up and coming things. It was quite sexy. Um, the course was great. Um, just what I wanted basically. And so, um, it wasn't that I necessarily felt like I wanted to work in it, it just kind of seemed like a good course. And then I just fell into jobs after that fell into research. And like in the family structure, she said mom and dad, neither of them went to uni. So obviously none of them were in the health industry. What, what were your parents doing? Um, mom was really a homemaker. Um, dad lived in Australia at that point, so he moved to Australia when I was about 15 maybe. And just, just had, you know, random jobs, supervising cleaners, cleaning businesses, that sort of stuff. So, yeah. And were you an only child or did you have siblings? No, I've got a brother as well. Um, so my, my brother, uh, finished school at 16 and did a couple of years just in an art college, basically. Um, so, uh, like a vocational qualification and I didn't really use that as a job, but. Okay. So really in your family, you were that first person that went on to university and then. Pretty much Yeah. Also. The first into the health field as well. Exactly, yeah. Now, again, you had your first career in genetics mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And then what was the, the momentum for you to move to Australia? Um, so, um, basically I was starting to get, go up the runs a little bit in genetics. And so I'd done a lot of research, got a lot of good papers out of it, which was nice. But you started to then get into management, which I Um, and I definitely didn't wanna do that for the next 30 years. And so it was really a, like a, um, a crossroads moment of, I've gotta either stick this out for the rest of my career, or I've gotta go and do something else. Um, and so the decision was, let's look at Australia, let's, let's see what's out there. Um, and at the time I was seeing a couple of physios from New Zealand, um, who were the best I'd ever seen. They were brilliant. And so, um, they sort of encouraged me strongly of, if you want to do physio and you want to be good at it, um, you need to move to Australia and you need to do one of X, y, or Z courses, um, and that's gonna fast track you along, basically. Um, and so that was, everything seemed to come together and that's what pushed me into Australia. Right. So hence the graduate entry masters program in Yeah. Okay. I actually started in the, the undergrad program because that, there was a couple things I didn't really have experience of, so my anatomy, anatomy wasn't quite good enough. And so, um, I didn't feel like I could apply straight into the graduate entry. And so I actually did a year of undergrad and knowing that I was probably going to, um, transfer into the gym program at the end of that first year. Yeah. Okay. So how did you find the university experience the second time round? Like, I'm not uk, Australia undergrad Yeah. Graduate. Yeah. So how'd that go? The, the first year of undergrad was a bit frustrating because you're learning with 17 year olds, uh, <laugh> and like, I remember what I was like as a 17 year old, and, and it's just about finding your feet as an independent person, learning how to study. And, um, and so my first year was a little bit frustrating and I was also doing things that, um, I could have done at my sleep. I was, had to do biology units, you know, which were way below where my level was. Yeah. But then once I transferred into the gym, it was, it was great. I was learning with people that had left their own lives and, uh, given up things, paid money to come from Canada or Korea, uh, over to Australia and study. So I just, I felt like I really fitted in at that point. And, and how important, like, that's an interesting thing for people to consider because I, I noticed that, you know, I was a, a 17 year old, actually, I was a young 17 year old going to undergraduate as well. And certainly when we came to our second year, we had this influx of seven or eight, um, physios that were coming back to do physiotherapy. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they raised the tone, like they raised the expectation level of us,<laugh> little, little kids, so to speak, in, in what was expected of the lecturers. And the, the whole standard just raised up and it was, they were, they were serious, like they were here to get this job done. Yeah. And in that way they almost lay, lay at a level of professionalism over our course, which was, which was interesting to see happen in front of us. Yeah, I agree. And I, I saw that from the other side as well. So, uh, I know the, the journalists generally weren't really well liked, um, in the physio realm from other students because I think you're right. There's a bit of challenge there. And we were there to get a job done, study and study hard. And it's not about anyone else, it's about what we did. Yeah. You, you br you bring that out perspective to perhaps above <laugh> a bunch of young kids really in a way. Yeah. Which is what we all did it, we all were all there at some point in time and, and we all enjoyed it too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So hitting the gym program, you felt like you really hit your straps and it was the environment for you inserted you really nicely. What were some of the experiences? Because it's a pretty intense program as well, isn't it? Yeah, it's, it's really intense. Um, and so you become quite close to your, uh, classmates because you, you're all going through this, it's it like trauma. So, you know, you, you, it is, it, it's hard. It's like the, the undergrads get a year to do, um, four placements or five placements, and you, you're basically doing on one after the other. So you do four weeks and then you, uh, you have the weekend and then you start your next placement. And so that's really tough. So rather than doing that year of practical work, practical work, you, you do it in three months. So it's, it is full on. Um, and so you, you definitely feel very downtrodden and, um, direct at the end of it. And so having those classmates around is, um, was, was great actually. I still have really good friends from that course as well. Cause you, you, you prop each other along basically. Yeah. Was there any moment there in that gym program where you thought, this is just too much, I really have bitten off too much and I'm sort of choking rather than chewing? No, not at all. No. I actually really enjoyed it. And it was the first time around I studied because, uh, I had to and needed to get a degree out of it. But, uh, I did physio because I wanted to be a physiotherapist and never felt like, um, it was too much or I didn't want to do it. It was, I actually enjoyed the study. Yeah. Okay. So look, you, you, you graduate from your gym program. How was that different to you, you say, than when you graduated from your science genetics program? I think I just knew what I wanted to do. And it wasn't just about study, it was about all the other stuff I'd done. Um, the ec you know, the sports stuff, et cetera. I'd done during my whole course as well. So I knew exactly what I wa what I wanted to do at the end of the, the physio course. And I wanted to hit the ground running cuz I, you know, I was 39, 38, 39 when I graduated. And so like, I couldn't wait around for 10 years learning my trade. I had to really get in, stuck into it, basically. Yeah. So how did those next couple of years develop? And I'm particularly interested to know also how ruthless you were in the decisions that you made with regards to fast tracking your, your profession or your, your progression, I guess. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, I mean, I, I, I worked hard. I worked hard, not just at uni, but I worked hard outside of uni. So I did a lot of sports. So sort of like, basically the week I started undergrad, um, I started with the rugby team. Um, and so I was doing, um, all Saturday, two days a week. And then basically I was taking every sports job that I possibly could, um, outside of, um, uni. And so when I'd graduated, I'd lined up I think four job offers, um, with private clinics. Um, and because I'd done a lot of extra stuff when I was a little bit older, I sort of had my pick. Um, and none of them were really right for me. They, they weren't the right fit. Um, and so I actually ended up, um, taking the first job as a three month contract in a stroke rehab water, three month. Um. Just, that was, that was a, like I I, I hear sports and then for undergraduate and gym and then all of a sudden you're saying none of the jobs are right. You've gone a stroke rehab unit. It. Was a, it was a real shock actually to me because I thought the same thing. Uh, I mean, I got into physio to do sports, um, and then my last prac before I finished was in a, was in neuro reap stroke rehab basically. Um, and it's great. You get to test your, uh, your reasoning every day with it. And you, you get to try different things that are completely applicable to normal everyday people as well. So, um, when left that, that practicum, they sort of said, if you ever looking for a job, let us know. And so I did the, the, the jobs that had come up weren't really me. It was the, the chain clinics, um, that offered a PD program that I didn't really feel that I needed. I feel felt like I needed something a little bit more bespoke. Um, and the place that I wanted to work at, which was Ascend, um, physio, um, that's where I always wanted to go. And there, there was no vacancies there, so I took the stroke job instead, which I loved. And, you know, probably would've stayed there if I could've just stayed in that ward. Um, and then towards the end of that, a job came up at Ascend. So it was almost just meant to be. So that was my next journey. You almost became a neurophysio. Exactly. It's amazing how things can pivot, you know, based upon one or one decision or happening one way or the other way. Yeah. So you start at Ascend, I guess you're nearly 40 now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you sort of feel that there's a bit of a time pressure on you. What was it you were seeking from that particular clinic or what attracted you as a, you know, as a new grad to that type of clinic? Um, I think I wanted to be around, uh, uh, an acting active and a sporting population and people that wanted to get better and were, were gonna be integrated into their own health and rehab, um, rather than someone that just wanted some passive care. Um, and so that's, that was really attractive for me. And I ascend, obviously I had a really good reputation at the time of, or still does of, of, of rehab based therapy. Um, and just the people around me as well, were, were what I was looking for in terms of my own development. So I needed people that I could, you know, I had a difficult case or I didn't know something, I could go and talk to them rather than, um, I didn't know how, I didn't need to know how to do a, um, an ACL rehab cuz I can do that in my own time or I can talk to another physio about that. I didn't feel like I needed guiding through that quite so much. Um, so that, was that more like bespoke development, I guess. So that's one thing that's a bit confusing I think for some people is that you're a mature age student, you've got all those soft skills down path as far as communication and understanding and situational awareness and those types of things, but your clinical skills aren't, you know, on par I guess with those soft skills. Yeah. What were you, what were you looking for when you say mentorship at that stage? What did you really value? Um, it was probably just the opportunity to talk to somebody, you know, so I have this patient with this, I've never seen it before. Um, or I don't know how to rehab it. Can you, you know, here are my ideas, what do you think? Um, so it was just that, that opportunity to connect with somebody rather than being told something. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And like, how long were you there for? And I, is it around about now that you, you decided to put the foot down again and go back to Curin? I did. So I actually stayed at Ascend until I moved to Canada in 2018. So I was there for eight years. Um, and so I, I basically, I, I went into my, um, postgrad as soon as I could, soon as they'd let me basically. So, uh. Hi, I'm Becky again. Yeah. Hello me again. So I started in 2012 and did my musculoskeletal, uh, clinical masters, so over two years part-time. So it meant I could still work, um, still had all of my sports commitments. Um, so I was still working with teams at that point. Um, plus I was probably doing 16 to 70 hours a week maybe. I was doing my part-time Musk sports ascend. And, and how were you physically handling all this, like physical. Mentoring? Pretty good. Yeah, pretty good. I, the one thing that had to drop was, uh, I was a track and field athlete and in, as a 40 year old it just, it wasn't happening as well as a 60 hour week. So that was the one thing that fell out of, um, the equation. Right. And with, when you said Musk, like you obviously had the choice to do Musk or sports first up and given your An Ascend, which is a sports specific rehab clinic, why did you go and do Musk? Um, well actually the sports program wasn't running at that point. So the, the program had ended a couple of years before. Um, and the first time they offered it again was 2014. So I did it because it was the only one, um, available at Curin. Um, but there were things on the course I really liked. So like I, I needed to get my clinical reasoning skills up, uh, and my assessment skills up and um, it's a good course for that. So I felt like the, you know, the manipulative part of that course that used to be called a manipulative masters, um, is really the, the end product, the, the last semester if you like. But leading into that you get to use your hands properly and know what you're assessing and feeling and know what you're doing treatment wise as well. Um, and then the clinical reasoning skills for just more complex cases, um, and bringing in all the biopsy psychosocial stuff into that equation. Yeah. And that's, I think that's a bit of a, it's a bit of a hard thing with a musculo SCL or the manipulative physiotherapy title is that people straightaway latch onto that sort of cracking the bone sort of concept. But as you say, there's a, there's a huge amount of, um, under swelling of clinical reasoning and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, just palpatory skills and manual therapy assessments and just putting all that together and, and sure. Like 10% of it you might manipulate or do your thrust or something like that, but mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, I'm quite happy to mention now that I did all that and I don't, I probably haven't manipulated a person's spine, you know, in 20 years, so. I'm very rare to. Do it. Well, yeah. But I still very much value the clinical reasoning and I still very, very much valuable the anatomy path, um, the diagnosis, all those sorts of skills that you developed along it's a shame we can't get a better better word for the Yeah. For the profession cuz unfortunately that's what it leads people to think, particularly in the general public. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which leads us to the other bit we were talking before we went online, was that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you then, you know, decided you want to go back and I guess the sports course was then offered and you went back and did the clinical masters in sports as well? I did. And so, um, I think it just offers different things, the, the sports course. So I, I obviously went back and studied and it wasn't that much extra work to do the sports, although, because we were the first year doing it, it was, uh, they didn't really know how to pitch it. So there was probably too much work, to be honest. Um, it was a little bit crazy at times. Um, but it's just very different. So your clinical reasoning skills are a little bit different. Probably less complex cases, but more sports focused. Um, and probably more on the, like the how to develop a, um, a rehab plan for an athlete from day up to return to play. Um, being able to integrate that with a, with a team of people. So, uh, conditioning coach and using your other support team you like, um, dietician coaches, um, using technology. So, you know, getting <inaudible> with using GPS and Dynamometry and all that sort of stuff. Um, and then looking at common, um, sporting presentations as well. So quite different skill set actually to, to musculo fetal physio. So, um, I know when I've done supervision of Musk students, um, they really have no idea how to get from a low level physio based rehab into end stage rehab. Um, whereas a sports physio, it's, it's integral to it. You have to know how to get people back to high level school. Yeah. And I guess that I think to me is the essential difference. Like we, again, we were speaking about if you're an athlete's on the a back pain, you send out the sports physio mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when you send out the musk physio, um, what would you, what would be your take on that? I think matters? I think those, those are key, uh, um, skills are, are probably something that both have, but it comes down to experience. I think we actually don't teach it very well in this country. The, the, you know, on field stuff. So like in Canada for instance, they do a degree of, um, an athletic trainer or an athletic therapist and they're, their skills on field are vastly superior I think to, uh, most physios that we have here, unless you just have a lot of experience in being out on the field. Okay. You've gone, you've done your postgrads, you've done them through whilst working at a descend and then there's obviously comes a turning point cuz you decide to pick up sticks and stumps and head towards the land of ice hockey. Yeah, exactly. So that was a, that was a life decision, running your physio decision. So, um, am I a Canadian basically? Um, and so the, the long-term plan was to try out living in Canada. Um, and so I managed to, um, talk to a, a really high-end, uh, sports med clinic, probably the best in Canada. Um, best facilities I've ever seen. Um, and so it just worked out perfectly basically that, um, I was gonna end up working there and, um, moving to Vancouver and then at the same time the um, head physio role with the Canadian women's rugby team came up. So I ended up getting that as well. So I had a like little bit of that on top of my clinical work. And just for those that are interested in going to Canada, what's the story with regards to registration and working as a physio with Australian degree now? Yeah, it was actually difficult. So I had to go back and do all of my, uh, basic registration skills. So, um, I went and did a, a written exam, which was not that difficult, but just some extra learning and I had to go back to my basic university days and go through all of my notes. Um. So we're talking cardio neuro geriatric. Pediatrics. Yeah, multisystem, diabetes, um, everything, everything that we went through and more. And how much time did you put aside and were you guided along that pathway? Not really, but, uh, I was, I, I wasn't that worried. I basically, I spent a week reading through all of my notes. Um, and then I spent probably another week just going through past papers and going through questions and making sure it's multi-choice. So, um, I was fairly confident with that. Um, so I think that was 2015. Um, and then I went across a couple of years later and did my, uh, practical exams. So Ah, so there's quite a big gap between your theory and your practical. Yeah. Yep. Um, and so that's just a 16 stations, like oskies basically, um, not as high level as the ones, um, within the closet curtain, but, um, just, um, stress environment. So you had two minutes to read a, uh, sheet of paper on the door, go into the room, do your 10 minute station, whatever that might may be. You know, teaching someone to walk out of a wheelchair in a Zimmer frame, ask Quest, answer questions on it, come out, go to your next room, two minute reading 10 minute station. So 16 stations like that. Um, so just a baptism of fire, basically test of how good you are under stress and the pressure. Um, and so the, the process was long and difficult, but um, it was just necessary to get my registration. Yeah. So you're putting your hands up for anyone that's interested in moving to Canada to tutor them along the process?<Laugh>? Well, yeah, no, not really, but they, I think they've actually made it a little bit easier, uh, and probably will continue. They, they're having problems in Canada with getting their own physios registered because of Covid basically. Um, so they've changed a couple of the, the things like the practical practical exams and the, the timeframes and all that sort stuff. So it has changed a little bit since I was there. It's always one thing that amazed me, cuz there you are, you applying for and being accepted into a high-end sports rehab clinic, you're gonna work with a top level sports team. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, you don't need to know about zimbra frames, you don't need to know about neuro and all that of stuff. And it's almost a shame we can't get like a limited registration some way that says mm-hmm <affirmative>, as long as you work within your field of especially then we're happy to have you here because you know, you like me, I don't want to treat that sort of stuff now because I don't have the expertise and that's not where I can deliver, you know, best value. So it's kind of a shame you have to go back and do it. Yeah, yeah, it is. Although I did have a couple of neuro patients, so it was, uh, it was nice to actually go through my neuro again. Yeah. All right. So you've got your registration. You've, you've married your lovely wife and you've moved to Canada. How did you go with the, um, the job with BC and uh, were you in Vancouver? Yes. I was in Van. Yeah. Yeah, so, uh, good. So they, um, the sports med clinic was, was brilliant. It was very, uh, musculoskeletal, it was like, it was set up like a, like a team is here. So, um, you know, there were doctors on site, strength and conditioning coaches, psychs, um, hydrotherapist, physios, massage chiros, um, a whole, there were 150 staff basically. So huge clinic, um, marketing teams, all that sort of stuff. So, uh, really well set up good programs. Um, a lot of integration between staff, um, very much, uh, a rehab based clinic so people knew they were gonna come in and have rehab, so less reliance on passive, um, therapies basically. Um, and so, you know, we could take them into the, we had an underwater treadmill and we could take them doing a hydrotherapy session, um, could get them running on an underwater, uh, we had a bio suite so we could get them on a force plate treadmill, um, with Vicom system as well. So like all the, all the toys basically. Uh, we had rehab spaces outside, so you could go into a field session with somebody on your own field. Uh. Is this uni at university bc? Is that sound. Big? No, no, it's, it was a private, not-for-profit. Um, so yeah, it was, was, you know, almost world leading. So Dublin have a very similar setup called the Sport Surgery Group. Um, they just go one step further and they, they do all the surgery in in-house there as well. Um, and then on top of that, I obviously have the rugby. So I, I would spend probably six to 10 weeks away every year with the, with the national team touring and international games. And, um, and then that suddenly all came to an end in 2020 and Covid had hit and, um, the, the clinic was almost too big and uh, basically was losing money at that point and, um, folded. So closed December 31st. Wow. Isn't it amazing. Yeah. So that was what. So all of a sudden your dream in that sense, I guess you proposed staying there for almost, you know, long term. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Um, and so all of the contacts that I have in Australia, I had none of that in, in Canada. So although I was working in like probably the best clinic in Canada, that that doesn't give you contacts for where you're gonna go next, basically. Um, and so I'd looked around at jobs and um, the, this great job came up with waste. It was a brand new job with the swimming program, um, embedded within the program. So the ability to actually influence what you're doing, and it was part-time, 15 hours a week, but, um, knew that I could get work here to top that up as well. So that brought me back. Okay. So would you say that was like indicative of what happened to physiotherapy across Canada? Cuz it didn't really happen here? No, not really. And remote. And it, you know, it was, it was, it was kind of funny for a while, but basically it's been normal, normal steaming ahead. Well, we, we definitely went to a little bit more telehealth, but we, we probably had, um, three months off completely and then back into the clinic. So I think if it was just a physio clinic or a physio and rehab clinic, it would've been fine. But there was still a lot of things we, we couldn't do and they were losing money. So for instance, like we had a 50 room hotel in onsite, um, and so a traveling team would bring all of their people. They'd use the catering, they'd use the sports hall or the fields. Um, and so it was a one-stop shop basically. And so, um, after Covid, we, we didn't have any of that facility. We had no catering, no hotel, um, so we just, we lost all that ability to have teams through that. So like for instance, the Toronto Raptors would come and do their preseason camp for a week or two weeks prior to Covid. Um, and they'd use everything. And so that, that's obviously a money maker, but as soon as you lose that revenue coming in, um, the, the, you know, the physio clinic's not enough to, to support that. Yeah, yeah. Very much a unexpected consequence of covid on that sort of business model then. Yeah. Okay. So you're back in wa how's it, what's happening at waste? Uh, waste is good. It's been really good. So swimming's elite swimming is, uh, was new to me. I'd worked with a lot of swimmers, but you know, high end swimming is different, you know, it's just a different sport almost. Um, and so I'm there 15 hours a week, which is great. Um, worked with Brett Locum when I first came back, so I worked in his clinic, which was brilliant. Brett, me a quite similar age, quite similar philosophies, uh, get on really well. Um, he swimming physio and had been for a lot of time, a lot of years, so I learned a lot from him as well. Um, and then after I'd been with him for three months, ended up getting a job with the hockey Ros Australian Women's Hockey Team, um, and spent all of last year, um, doing 28, 28 hours a week, uh, with them. So 0.7. Um, so then had to leave the clinic and, uh, purely sports at that point. So swimming in hockey. Um. So at the moment, are you based in a clinic and then doing these, I guess contract type jobs external to the clinic? Or are you full-time with either waste swimming or hockey ros? So hockey Ros uh, contract ended at the end of last year, so I'm now, uh, 15 hours with waste, uh, employed by waste. Um, and then I'm just about to start in another clinic in a couple of weeks, um, which is a really rehab based clinic, um, for 15 hours as well. And then I'm just about to also start being physio for the, uh, national Artistic swimming program as well that's based at waste. So is this like, as a big broad brush comment, is this the way of a sports physio that you move from contract to contract? Or is there, is that unsettling? Um, yeah, it can be. Yeah. Yep. So, um, depends on, on where you're at. So if you are, if you are embedded within team, so for instance, I was at the West Coast Fever for five years and you know, they, you, you develop in that role, you get to learn your sport, uh, and they want to keep you and, uh, probably would've stayed if I wasn't moving to Canada, but. Yeah. Um, and waste is, is, you know, I came on a one year contract knowing they'll probably extend that and so then they extended for another two years that again, will get extended for a, um, again, I'm sure next time, um, as long as you do a good job. But the, the, it is part of the, the sports physio realm is, you know, you often are on contracts and you're relying on that contract being renewed or not. Right. Now, this next question, I'm thinking of the younger physios listening to this and therefore ask the question to become a sports physio. Do you think that a person requires like a certain quality and if so, what would that be or what are they? Um, I think you've gotta be prepared to work hard cuz you're going to, um, you know, when you, when you go away with a sports team, you're generally the first up. Um, cuz you've gotta do something in the morning. You've generally got to, uh, do a, um, triage clinic or a strapping before you, um, before breakfast sometimes, or you've gotta have your breakfast early so they, you can do it before training, gotta be a training or competition all day. And then generally you've gotta treat at night. So you're generally first up, uh, and the last of bed. So, you know, it's not unusual to work 15 hour days and so you've gotta, you've gotta work hard. And I certainly have worked hard over different jobs I've had, uh, when I first came out of uni I had three different rugby teams I was looking after, so I was probably doing 20 hours a week on top of full-time clinic. And um, so I think you've gotta be prepared for that. it's just a two hour a week job. Um, you've gotta have a lot of resilience as well. Um, it's a tough job. You've, you've been questioned all the time, um, and you're gonna get things wrong and you're gonna reflect on that and um, it can be stressful. And, um, so yeah, that resilience is really important I think, and probably something that I only learned later on in my career. Um, uh, and you've just gotta be up to communicate well. So cuz you are always gonna be working in a team. Um, you've got to work closely with your s and c coach in strength and conditioning and you've gotta work closely with your coach. Um, so you've, you've really gotta have that, that clear communication. Yeah. Okay. Now another question that I sort of wanted to ask too, because this happens to a lot of physios. They travel overseas, they work overseas, and you've done that as well. You've come from overseas, you've gone back and that sort of stuff. How has this influenced you as a physio and also your career progression as a physio? Um, I think you, you, you gain things from, um, from watching how other places do it, good or bad. And so it makes you embrace the things that you think you're already good at and it helps you to learn the things that you're not good at. So sort of, if, think about some examples, uh, we're really lucky here in that we can refer for imaging, we can um, we can look at imaging, we can, uh, integrate with the doctors on it. Uh, they don't have that in Canada, so it's very difficult to get imaging in Canada. So if you want an MRI for somebody, you're generally gonna wait three months, uh, and you can't refer for it, you've gotta go through a doctor. Um, so, so that helps you when you come back to Australia actually to use and embrace that. Um, but I think other countries also do things well. So like when I was in Canada, um, I think they did concussion pretty well over there. They had some really strong research there. Um, and so that made me upskill quite a lot. Um, and I think as well, just the, the, that rehab, um, component was, was massive for me. So, um, in the clinic, I know we had a, um, an Aussie guy who lived in Canada, lived in Canada before and then moved to Hong Kong. He was a pilot basically, um, had a, um, a really bad motor motorbike accident. And so came back to Canada to do his rehab and so I was able to see him every day for, uh, two months basically. And so rehab ev every day for two months and it makes you appreciate how, um, good you can be with rehab when you have a regular access to that. And so it wasn't unusual for me to see someone twice a week or three times a week and not for hands-on, but for actually going Um, and so again, that's something that I, I think that I bring back to Australia now. And you get to see the influence of that, don't you? Like Yeah, you do. When you've, I, again, like I worked in, lived in Canada too and worked at quite a few different clinics and got to see even how individual practitioners interacted with the system and had a look at the results of it. And one of the other big clinics when I was there with Deb and Bill Tralo mm-hmm. <affirmative> on, on Broadway. Yeah. And it was interesting, like bill's very much a five to 10 minute appointment. Deb's very much a, you know, 30 to 40 minute appointment mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when you do a locum for one and then next week you're doing a wellum for the next one, it, it really was chalk and cheese as to how their particular demographic of clients expected you to treat them. And that just really opened my eyes to, you can have two physios that have very completely different approaches to management, but they still build a demographic of patients around them that that's what they want and that's, that's successful for them. So. Yeah. Well, and I think the, the, the thing that I learned I wasn't good at when I first arrived there, um, is working out with the patient what they want and need. So are they looking for, um, to be given a program they can go away and do it themselves? Um, or do they want guidance on that or are they expecting none of that and they, they're expecting you to fix them and hands on? Um, so I think working out, um, what your patient actually wants and needs, um, is something that I've really taken away and, and I still use here now. Yeah. I think that's a really important point for, for all of us to continue to remind ourselves. Cause there's no point giving something to somebody that doesn't want it. No, exactly. And conversely, there's no point not achieving what a person wants from us because they won't come back either. So both are missing, missing the mark. Hey, look, while, while we talking on, uh, potential failure is, what would be you sort of say is the hardest lesson you've learned so far as a physio? Um, oh, that's a great question. Um, I, I think just, um, making sure that, um, you're on the same page, particularly in the sports team with, with other people in the team. Um, so, you know, not taking for granted what you think a coach wants or an S N C wants, it's just, it's actually using that good communication. Um, cuz it can break down and break down, it can break down quickly as well. And it's hard to fix that once it happens. Just as a lead on from that, where's the priority lie? Is it with the client or the, the athlete or is it with the s n c coach or is it with the head coach or is it with the owner of the, of the team? I think we always have to advocate for, um, the athlete as a person. Um, and there there can be some context around that in terms of uh, uh, the, the coach. So you know, for instance, what's the importance of um, them being able to train or play at this point, you know, is it, is it preseason, is it season, is it a final? Um, and so in the back of your mind that you've got to for your athletes or play as a person. And when you going into politics. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.<Laugh>. My next career. What's that? That's my next career. Yeah, well I have no doubt for 200 bucks or less, what's the best book or app or tool or investment you've made in yourself as far as clinical development physio? Um, well $10 isn't, isn't a lot. Um, isn't really get you a lot these days. Um, there was a really good app that I probably used to use every day, which is, I think it's called Essential A Anatomy, and it was, it was probably 60 bucks, something like that. Um, but it was great, great for explaining to patients, athletes, uh, about what's going on. You can put muscles up and down and connective tissue so it gets them to visualize things, which was great. Um, the other thing that I really liked was I bought myself just a little handheld dynamometer, which was probably a bit more expensive than that, but maybe 400. Um, but again, just to um, get some objective measures for things rather than Okay. Good tips. Good tips. Um, what would you say has been the most out on a limb decision that you've made in regards to career and what was the outcome of that decision? Um, I would say probably, so when I first graduated since 2010, um, I'd worked in rugby rugby since 2007, so I, I'd done three years, three and a bit years. Um, I'd already been basically the sports physio that I worked with at my club left the year before. He was a, he was a big influence on me, was one of my early mentors, Marty Mayer. And, uh, and so he left the club and so I ended up, um, being the head physio at the club for a year, like not even graduated at that point. Um, so head trainer if you like. And so when I left university, um, there was a job came up at the Western forces and assistant physio. So like looking back, I was completely under qualified for it, but went for it anyway. Um, you know, had some confidence in my own skills. I don't think arrogance, but, but I knew, I knew I was underdone a little bit, but applied. Anyway, Rob Naish was the head physio and, um, rightly so, didn't get the job, but um, Rob was, was really great about it and he was like, you know, this is where you are lacking, um, you need to build up this, this, and this, uh, and I think we can probably help you with that. And so, uh, brought me in as a, as a sort of part-time physio basically, and help them with their screening. Um, did some, uh, treatment work with them and, um, so just upskilled me basically. So, so Nashi was a, was a, um, a big influence and I think if I hadn't, um, applied for that job, um, would never have got into that realm. Yeah. And then also that just gave you another contact and as you say, it's, there's nothing better than positive feedback that, or negative feedback that's followed up by how we can rectify those problems too. Definitely. Yeah. Um, I think the other thing that influenced me, um, probably for even, so I was a, um, a student rep on the physio committee. So the, the Sports Physio committee and also the dry needling committee as you know, we work together. Um, and so just the, the committee work was brilliant because it just opens up doors to you, um, and you get to meet experienced clinicians and how I got my job at Ascend, so convened the course that Ali Lowe was running and she was the, the boss at Ascend and um, helped get me the job there. Um, and then I obviously worked with you on the dry needling committee and um, ended up a couple of years later being the chair of the national group. So, and again, you meet these amazing practitioners, um, who are experts in the field and you get to hang out with 'em. So. Yeah, it's, as you say, it's a great way to network too, isn't it? Like mm-hmm.<affirmative>, you know, you might not be on the same clinical basis, but that doesn't mean you're enthusiasm, energy and capacity. You can't be, you know, assisting and then you get to know these people and it's all about, you know, knowing people and if they know you're, you know, good person, you're committed and then they sort of think, well that would be a nice person to work with as well. Yeah. You know, it's a lot better than a job interview cold Turkey sort of style. Absolutely. Hey, um, looking overall through your career so far, what would you say are three highlights for you? Um, working with national teams has been like my, um, it's probably something I've been most proud of. Um, so Canadian Women's Rugby team, um, did some work with the Canadian netball team as well. Um, and then, um, hockey r so Australian Women's Hockey. Uh, I've just come back from the world championships working with the Australian swim team, which was great my first time working with the Dolphins. Um, and then again, just about to start working with the art artistic swimming program nationally. So that's obviously, uh, that's a big highlight for me is, is you know, getting those, uh, teams under my belt. Um, and then I think last year, um, with the hockey was, was a good year. We had two months away did the World Cup, uh, and then straight into the Commonwealth Games. And again, that was probably a highlight for me was, you know, going through a whole World Cup, winning a bronze medal, heading off to the Commonwealth Games, being an, uh, you know, a paid physio within the Australian team. Um, again, winning a medal when you saw the medal. So that was, that was a proud moment. Um, and then I think just looking back at the journey and, you know, knowing that the hard work that I put in, in the first place actually has got me to a good point. Yeah. And whilst you are in a reflective mood, like if you would go back to yourself when you're sort of 37, 38 and you're sort of start starting out in your physio career, is there anything that you'd like to, I don't know, say to yourself or pass on to yourself at that point now that you know what you do know? Uh, I would just say like I, all the hard work pays off, so, you know, I was working really long hours in stressful jobs and um, you know, you don't want to go out on a Monday night and do a sports job just cuz it comes up. But like all of that hard work really pays off. So I think just, um, just clarification really that you know, you're doing the right thing. Um, so yeah, keep at it, basically don't be put off. Um, and I think just, you know, learn as much as you can, take it all in. And looking forward, like there's a bit of a discussion going on in our profession at the moment. Where is it you would see physiotherapy going in the next, you know, three or four, five years? Um, I think what I'm seeing at the moment is there's a little bit of a push to away from manual therapy and into, um, you know, rehab or whatever that looks like. And so some physios won't touch a person because it's not sexy anymore to do, uh, manual therapy, but it is to do exercise therapy and, uh, I, I'm not sure I really fall into that counsel, although I do, most of what I do is rehab based. I think there's still a, um, a need for hands-on. So I am a manual therapist and I do need a lot and I see good results personally from that, even if it gives me a window. Um, and I think we, we need to settle the balance somewhere. And so at the moment that swing of the pendulum is really towards, uh, exercise, uh, and away from manual. I think we need to swing back a little bit and get a little of, bit of um, you know, uh, a balanced view. Well, being a person that's trained in both, you know, higher education, trained in both Musk and sports, that's, that's, you know, a pretty valid perspective cuz some of us are just mask and some of us, I guess just sports, but mm-hmm.<affirmative>. Yeah. Could you, is there anything else you wanna say about that swing of the pendulum, the balance that you see in how you'd apply it clinically? Um, I think just, there are obviously some, some people that, that are quite high profile that are pushing towards the, the, the rehab. Uh, and so it can be hard to resist that as a young physio. Um, you know, Adam meetings is a, is a one of those, uh, people that is quite high profile and definitely pushes towards, you know, don't do manual therapy, don't do hands-on. It's not, it's not useful. Um, but I think, you know, use your, use your skills that you uni uh, that you learn at university and you know, you, you can, you can use those skills and you retest so does someone get better from hands on or from needles or whatever that may be. Um, so use your own, this part of your clinical reasoning. So. Yeah. Okay. And like, just generally for yourself, like you would have to have had the most condensed, um, concentrated, um, process of, or physiotherapy professional development that I've think I've come across in like 30 years. Where do you see, you know, Chris Perry heading in the next five years? Like how condensed are you gonna continue this progression? Um, who knows? I, I, I've still got goals, so I still wanna do an Olympics or two, so that's my first goal. Um, I really wanna do a rugby World Cup, so, um, the plan was always to do the women's Rugby World Cup with the Canadian women's team and the Welcome World Cup ended up getting postponed by a year because of Covid. So, um, I missed it. So I, I left Canada and came back to Australia and um, and so, um, was a year away from the World Cup basically. So I still want to tick that off as well. I want to do a women's world Cup with whatever team that is. Um, yeah, and I just, I'd like to, I'd like to go through another period of just doing some sports. Like I, I love the, the private practice stuff, it's different and you get to see, uh, people can change quite dramatically in their lives. Um, but I would like to get back into some, just some pure sports as well I think. Cool. And are you back running again as well, Chris? Uh, I'm just keeping fit now, really. You know, ticking along, running, biking, swimming, gyming. Cool. Well look, thank you so much for your insights, both, you know, on the mask and the sports and also how fast a person with goals can progress their career even if they start late in life. Cause I think that, you know, hats off, that's an amazing progression you've gone through and I guess, well only 15 years really, isn't it? So you've really consolidated and moved quite quickly both locally and internationally. So thanks for giving us your story. I'm sure there's some people gonna listen to this and actually find quite some amazing insights to it and wish you all the world all the best to get to that World Cup and also the next Olympics. Great. Thanks Doug. Good to chat him. Yeah. All the best. Alright. Bye. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Physio plus 10 in which I trust you gain some valuable insights. It'd be awesome if you could lead your 2 cents worth as a review or rating of this podcast and I look forward to sharing the story of another trailblazing physiotherapist with you in two weeks time. Stay safe. Bye for now.