Welcome back to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Emma Stone, Sports Therapist at Millwall Lionesses and Bishop Stortford Swifts.
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
My work is varied, the football clubs I’m currently committed to are the Millwall Lionesses and I also help men’s team Bishop Stortford Swifts in the Essex Olympian league.
What do you do in your current role?
My current role is varied from treating MSK issues, coaching S&C, yoga, mobility, sports massage and many other treatments.
What does a normal week look like for you?
When we are not in full lockdown, I work with various football clubs and agencies for athletes teaching players yoga/mobility, providing sports therapy requirements to sports massage at The Lewin Clinic. My week is varied from location to client’s needs, which is exciting for me. I’ll go from working with coaches to guide players back from rehab, going into professional clubs to teach yoga/mobility, evenings with the Millwall Lionesses to being in a clinic performing soft tissue therapy. Weekends are spent in the dugout. I’m not the kind of person who can sit in one place for long periods. I like to be challenged.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
When I was at School, I always wanted to be a physiotherapist in football. I played right back in a men’s team and I use to play at my local park with a Brentford player I was at school with. I set up a girls team at school, but it was hard to get enough girls to play so it fizzled out which made me give up wanting to play.
My love for football came at a very young age when I fell in love with Arsenal. It was actually Lee Dixon which many people are surprised to hear, but I was very young. I used to sneak out of the house jump on the Piccadilly line to Highbury. I was way too young to go alone to Highbury, but I use to sneak in the turnstile and pretend whatever adult was in front of me was my family. Still to this day my mum thinks I was at a mates house. Highbury days made me love football even more. My local team growing up was Brentford and I use to watch Staines too, I’ve always been around football.
I was also into keeping fit from dancing, bike riding, ice skating etc the way to body moves fascinated me. I always knew I’d end up working in sport at some point.
I went to study to be a physio but unfortunately dropped out due to family issues at the time. I then left to live abroad but I came back to follow my passion. I have grafted my way into football while studying. I started as a PT, training in S&C then went back to study sports therapy . I literally volunteered all my spare time in grassroots which has not been easy as the men’s game back then was not easy to crack. It was hard to earn the respect with what I wanted to achieve in the men’s game. I never let them push me out and proved my worth.
To work with footballers, bring the best out in them, is honestly my dream job. Working in football is hard graft, hours, constant challenges but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve also have done an FA coaching badge, I never wanted to be a coach but I wanted to understand a coaches role as I share dugouts with them. If you learn the basics of your fellow team members then you can appreciate their role and work together as a unit.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
I’ve always been excited about the industry. Now clubs and players are taking injury prevention measures more seriously, such as investing on yoga /mobility, it’s a dream for me. I can combine my knowledge of the game, rehabilitation and yoga skills. I’m looking forward to working with more clubs and helping them.
We cannot prevent injuries, but we can make the body more robust and as such, hopefully reducing them. I’ve always been into yoga and mobility, I believe this is also great in the rehabilitation process.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
The advice I would give to anyone wanting to work in football is to volunteer at grassroots. Make sure you gain not only the experience but an understanding of the lows that come along with the highs. It’s hard graft, yes, it is rewarding but it takes a lot of your life up.
The people you meet in grassroots are mainly volunteers so you work alongside people with passion for the game. You make a network of friends for life. I have many to thank but they know who they are.
Any social links you want to plug?
Thanks for reading our Industry Insider with Emma Stone! If you want to read more from the series, you can do so by clicking here.