I became a sports physio about five years after my footy career went up in smoke. It was a way to help people and remain in the company of  people I liked best – sport fanatics just like my daughter. I never imagined I’d wind up looking for places to study dry needling therapy in Christchurch.

Sara was twelve when some idiot hit her on her bike. She sustained an injury to her spine and although she was incredibly lucky it wasn’t worse, she was looking at a lifetime of pain management.The accident affected our family on a number of levels. I had a lot of my own grief tied up in her accident and recovery. I took a  terrible tackle at the height of my footy career, and had  to remind myself that my injury had been the very reason I wanted to forge a career in physio myself.

It all came to a head one Christmas, Sara  slipped on wet grass and and went into a particularly agonising back spasm. Unable to help her with my physio skills, I enlisted the expertise of my colleague Marie, who had undertaken a dry needling course in New Zealand. Marie had Sara out of pain by the end of her session. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I’d made up my mind to seek out  dry needling courses. New Zealand had some great ones.  I wanted to know more about this amazing skill that, if it had helped my daughter so much, I wanted to be able to practise myself.

Flash forward a few years later and I am a qualified  trigger point needle practitioner. When I look at the way things turned out, I couldn’t be more proud of her; Sara wants to study dry needling too. Even though it was so unfair for Sara, some truly good things have become of  her accident I’ve furthered my skills and my understanding of pain management;as  a Dad and a practitioner, these are the lessons I want most to learn.