BIOKINETICS ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA: JUSTIN JEFFEREY
Why did you pursue athletic training/therapy as your career?
From a young age when assessed what career I would go into, the career counsellor suggested that my personality trait would be very suited to teaching or pastoring people, at that stage I was a keen sportsman myself, never quite good enough to create a career out of my talent (even though deep down inside I thought I was). So I combined my career guidance counsellors advice and my passion for exercise and pursued a career in biokinetics. Here I could teach, help people through the modality of exercise, and I could possibly work with professional sports people; however, the trajectory of my life took a turn when I was exposed to neurological physical rehabilitation in Hampshire England.
Now I have morphed all those traits into applying the rules of exercise, therapy, rehabilitation and motivating people to grow to their full potential in terms of achieving extraordinary sporting physical feats in spite of a significant neurological set back in life.
What is your most memorable moment regarding athletic training/therapy?
There are a couple - first one was assisting Pieter Du Preez with his dream of being the first quadriplegic to completing a full iron man in Busselton Australia. I assisted Pieter to get his goal up to half iron man status and then watched him go onto reaching his full dream come true.
Secondly was assisting the great rugby player Joost van der Westhuisen walk one more time onto the the rugby field at Emirates Park Johannesburg at half time between a rugby test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the South African Springboks Thirdly making history by assisting Gabriel Gomes become the first South African paraplegic to complete an ultra distance mountain bike race - the 230km non stop transbaviaans Mtb race.
Who are your biggest mentors and what impact have they had on you?
My clients impact me on a daily basis, their courage, determination and grit inspire me, but as cliched as it sounds i have to admit working with the great late president Nelson Mandela was hugely impactful.
Reasons are probably because of the great mans humility, kindness and honesty. But it was also a watershed moment - because within each of us I realized we can achieve greatness, as long as you give off your best each day and you deal with each person as if they are the most important person in your life for those moments.
What is the most valuable advice you have received during your career?
It actually was very recently by a gentleman who i have worked with for many years he told me. “ Life is never as bad as you think it is, BUT its is never as good as you think it is either”
What advice would you give to young athletic trainer/therapist starting out their profession?
Its the lesson I learnt from the experience i gained from being asked to treat the great President Nelson Mandela - treat everyone with respect, treat everyone to the best of your ability, mainly because they deserve it, but also because you don’t know who they might know, who will help you in your career later on.
What do you love most about being an AT?
Watching people achieve more than they ever thought they could, helping people achieve their personal goals, but mostly crying tears of joy when those goals are achieved.
What was your most memorable case or athlete interaction that has impacted your professional and/or personal life?
There are the famous limelight cases obviously, but watching a person walk again after sustaining a spinal cord injury after months or years of therapy is mind blowing.
How do you promote the profession of Athletic Training/Therapy?
two words - ‘pure passion’