23 March, 2022 | Posted by Colm McDonnell

Former FAI & Shamrock Rovers Coach to Speak at Portobello Sports Therapy Webinar

Former FAI & Shamrock Rovers Coach to Speak at Portobello Sports Therapy Webinar

Conor Sheils studied at Portobello from 2013 to 2017. Arriving at the college already a qualified gym instructor and personal trainer, he was looking to fulfil his potential and take his experience even further.

“It was a nice stepping stone for me to explore further the health and fitness industry. My interest was more in-depth anatomy and physiology. That was one of the main draws for me,” he said.

Conor says that he found the course ‘very useful’. While he already had experience in the industry, ‘the degree was the piece of paper I needed’. And, perhaps most importantly, it ‘opened a lot of doors’ for him professionally.

Conor will share his career and education journey at Portobello Institute's upcoming webinar on 'How to Become a Sports Therapist'. The webinar will take place on Thursday evening, April 7th from 7 PM. You can register to attend here.

Before the course he was working in a gym in Malahide and in the aftermath, he was able to open his own clinic in his native Swords, from which he has amassed an impressive 300-strong client list.

Not only that, but the degree also allowed Conor to join the set up for League of Ireland champions, Shamrock Rovers. He worked his way up and spent five happy years with the Tallaght side.

“I was working almost in a managerial role in the academy of Shamrock Rovers. I was there for five years.

“I started as an intern and worked my way up to overseeing the other interns that came in, in a paid position.

“I was looking after the initial assessment, early care, the management and treatment, rehab and return to play protocols that were put in place. I was rostering staff for games and delegating who was going to do what in terms of what games needed to be covered,” he said.

And his work with the League of Ireland side didn’t go unnoticed. Alongside his club duties, Conor also entered the Irish international setup with the U-21 side where he was able to work with some of the top young talent coming through in Irish football in recent years. He spent a year and a half with the FAI but now has his sights set on a new venture.

“I’ll be going into Dublin Fire Brigade full time. I’ll be training as a firefighter, but I’ll be going in as an advanced paramedic.

“The combination of my degree, experience, and background helped me massively to get a position here which offers great opportunities and a career.

“It offers more security. I’ve been self-employed since 2017. I’ll continue the clinic work, but it’ll be good to have a nice stable income,” he said.

Conor is part of a panel of speakers who can advise and support you on your career journey to becoming a sports therapist or physiotherapist.

Read more about the speakers for the webinar here.

What Is a Sports Therapist?

“I’m advocating for it as much as possible and trying to raise awareness for what a sports therapist actually does.

“People always ask what is a sports therapist? Is that just massage?

“I would do a very similar job [to physiotherapists] and I like to think I do a better job than most in looking after clients and prescribing them with an extensive rehabilitation program.

"I give them a decent amount of time and give them starter information on what they need to do to manage their injury and give them the tools they need to manage themselves.

“I’ve built up a good clientele. It didn’t happen overnight. To get to the point with the Irish team, it took a huge amount of work, effort, and persistence to stick with it because building a clientele basis is very difficult.

“It went from one appointment a week to maybe two or three and then it doubled and up to last year, I was at around 25 to 30 appointments a week. It took its time but word-of-mouth and doing a good job is important. A lot of clients would testify for me, and I have a lot of repeat customers,” he said.

The 'How to Become a Sports Therapist' webinar is part of our sports webinar series supporting you to choose the course for the career you want. How to Become a Sports Performance Analyst will take place on May 5th and How to Become a Sports Psychologist will be on June 5th.

If you’d like to hear more about the course from our graduates you can check out their stories in the success stories section of our website here. Visit our sports department here.

Get in Contact

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 Jo Shaw here, email jo.shaw@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0024.

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