Kicking Goals in Sports Medicine with the Physiotherapy Department's Dr Sonya Moore

Studying online in a way that is both flexible and accessible is more relevant than ever in the time of COVID-19. Social distancing has brought additional challenges to key elements of Australian culture - like sports – which have implemented key changes to stay on track. But after months of isolation, stadiums are gearing up to bring the game back to fans, and it is sports medicine professionals who must once again step in to get the ball rolling.

Dr Sonya Moore standing next to a statue of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Mascot, a green Koala named BorobiWorking in high performance sports medicine is a dream career for many physiotherapists, podiatrists, doctors and sports scientists. Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist, Dr Sonya Moore, designed the University of Melbourne's Masters of Sports Medicine program to be taught entirely online. After 20 years working in high pressure environments including the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, Dr Moore identified a need in the industry for a masters program bringing together sports medicine professionals.

"We set out to meet the needs of athletes and professionals in sports medicine," explains Dr Moore. "Sports medicine practitioners work as an interdisciplinary team; the program is a collaborative effort."

Head shot of Sia KazantzisExpecting their first graduating class this year, the Masters of Sports Medicine has approximately seventy students enrolled. Developing the program online allows students the flexibility to continue work throughout their studies. Sia Kazantzis is a podiatrist and mum of two currently studying the Masters program.

"One of the key benefits of being able to continue working whilst studying a higher education degree is that it provides you with the opportunity to relate what you learn immediately into clinical practice," says Kazantzis.

"This was not only exciting, but provided me with an in-depth understanding of the value of the course content and its relevance in my clinical setting."

Currently touring with Cirque du Soleil as part of the Performance Medicine team, physiotherapist Karina Chilman agrees, explaining how studying the Sports Medicine program online allows her to skill up on the move.

"The online learning and the ability to access content anytime and anywhere was a major drawcard for me due to the amount of travel I do for my work and the need for study to be flexible," says Chilman.

"To be able to log in from an airport or hotel and complete some study, watch webinars or tutorials while in different timezones and also increase or decrease my study load depending on how busy work was fits in with my lifestyle." Studying remotely is an advantage not only for workers, travellers and modern families, but has become a necessity during these unprecedented times.

Karina Chilman sitting next to performers from Cirque du Soleil, dressed in costume as sea creaturesAlongside flexibility and accessibility, one of the program's other major draw cards is the official industry accreditation offered upon graduation.

"Getting that APA Sports & Exercise Physiotherapist or AAPSM Certified Sports Podiatrist title is critical to getting a job in performance sport, or at an Olympic games or major games," says Dr Moore.

"The Masters of Sports Medicine program is accredited on the academic pathway for the Australian Physiotherapy Association Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist title and the academic pathway for AAPSM Certified Sports Podiatrist.”

Dr Moore will be joined by a panel of sports medicine experts to host the, 'Return to Play: Sports Medicine Webinar' on 25 August from 7:30 to 9:00 PMWith sports medicine professionals, university alumni and current students in mind, the webinar will host presentations covering a variety of industry topics including returning to play after ACL injury and athlete wellbeing and psychological readiness.

Register for the webinar via this link.