Osteopathy and Sport

Training to be an Osteopath is just the start of a hugely rewarding journey.

  • Do you have a passion for sport, exercise and physical education? Has it inspired your interest in anatomy and human biology?
  • Are you looking for a rewarding career, where your specialist knowledge and hands-on skills can help improve people’s health?
  • Do you want to graduate with a recognised qualification, ready to start your career as a registered healthcare professional?

Study to become an Osteopath

The British College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM) in London is renowned internationally for providing high quality osteopathic education.  Our broad degree programmes and exceptional clinical training ensure we graduate well-rounded healthcare practitioners, able to diagnose and treat a wide variety of health complaints, with patients of all ages and backgrounds.

The breadth of approaches and techniques taught also provides an introduction to different styles of practice, helping students develop their own preferences and areas of special interest.

Specialist sports clinics

BCOM has a specialised sports clinic led by specialist tutors, who are also experienced, practising osteopaths. Under their supervision, students assess, diagnose and devise management and treatment plans for their patients.

Students may enter our specialist sports clinic in their final year, gaining valuable exposure to minor injuries and conditions more commonly associated with sport. The type of patient seen in sports clinic varies but may include weekend enthusiasts, through to professional dancers and elite level athletes. Many dedicated athletes return to the clinic on a regular basis, to maintain their health and help prevent recurrence of injury. Rehabilitation is a vital element of our sports clinics. Often, people return to their sport too early, with the potential risk of further serious injury. The sports clinic team can provide advice to help ensure a controlled and measured return to fitness.

Our integrated masters programme (the MOst) also offers a sport-based elective in the final year, so students can study this subject in more detail:-

  • Understand and develop skills in the aetiology, presentation, and management of sports and related injuries (acute and chronic)
  • Understand the evidence behind treatment and management, for example, the role of nutrition
  • Recognise other conditions that may appear as sports injuries (e.g., malignancy, infection, etc)
  • Understand any specific sports-related injury guidelines

Sports Osteopathy in practice

After graduating, many Osteopaths see patients of all ages and from diverse backgrounds – this includes patients experiencing minor strains and sports injuries, which may be helped through healthcare advice and osteopathic treatment. An Osteopath may also refer their patient to another practitioner or to their GP for further tests or specialist support.

Newly qualified Osteopaths looking to specialise in sport usually join an existing multi-disciplinary practice, working alongside other physical therapists and sharing clinic facilities. They may decide to set up their own specialist sports clinic, where they may offer complementary treatment approaches and utilise specialist equipment and technology.

Osteopaths can increasingly be found working as part of the medical team at professional sports clubs and at international sporting events. At elite level, additional qualifications, in sports medicine and/or rehabilitation, will usually be required as well as demonstrable experience of working in a sports setting.

Listen to Tom Sparks, an osteopath, who had a background in exercise and now specialises in sport, talk about why he chose to study osteopathy. 

Case Study: Gemma Fisher, Osteopath and Formula 1 Human Performance Consultant

Gemma graduated with a Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost) in 2012 after a career as a gym instructor and personal trainer. She gained additional qualifications in Medical Acupuncture, Cranio-sacral Osteopathy and Kinesiotaping.

She was employed by Williams Martini Racing as a Human Performance Specialist providing the medical care for the Williams Formula One team and their drivers. She went on to look after the health and wellbeing of the wider Williams Group workforce, as well as working with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop innovative technology and protocols for medical applications.

She now runs her own practice in Reading known as Formula Health which includes a sports injury clinic.  Most recently she has been working for the Alfa Romeo Racing F1 team, splitting her time between their Head Quarters in Switzerland, International Grand Prix racetracks and her clinic in the UK.

Case Study: Jon McSwiney, Osteopath Specialising in Sports

Jon McSwiney graduated from BCOM in 1996 and since has specialised in Osteopathy and sports. He was selected as part of the medical team for the London 2012 Olympic Games, treating rowing athletes. In 2017 he was also selected for the medical team at the 2017 World and Para Athletics Championships held at the Olympic Stadium and recently was part of the medical team at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Jon also pursues his passion for working in sport covering on pitch for Didcot Rugby Union Football Club and the Oxfordshire Under 20s. Jon was also lecturer in anatomy and Osteopathy at BCOM and is a Moderator for the final clinical competence exams at BCOM.

Commenting on why he chose to study Osteopathy and his career to date Jon said, "I visited an osteopath in my early twenties and was immediately struck by the hands on treatment. At our core we are physical therapists who continue to gain acceptance across a wide range of fields. Sport loves Osteopaths. We are able to use our observational skills with our knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics to treat the athlete as a whole and as an individual. Even the simplest soft tissue techniques can have a huge positive effect for an elite athlete but also the weekend warrior visiting your clinic. If you choose to focus more on sport, Osteopathy gives you the tools to succeed."

john mcswiney

Case Study: Roy Knightsbridge, Consultant Osteopath for Professional Golfers

After graduating from BCOM, Roy went on to study a Masters in Osteopathic Sports Care, Sport & Exercise Science at Leeds Metropolitan University. His dissertation looked into the relationship between hip restriction and back pain in golfers opened discussions with the European Tour and he began working with them. As part of the European Tour Performance Institute Health & Performance Unit, he works with Tour Golfers across the world and Roy has said it is amazing to be part of a multidisciplinary approach to working in elite sport, alongside Sports Medicine, Physios, Chiropractors, Nutritionists and Psychologists.

Work typically starts with two preparation days before the tournament and can consist of assessing and treating injuries, working on conditioning programmes, working with coaches on areas that the player is trying to work on in their golf swing. The most common injuries he sees in professional golf are low back, shoulder, and hand and wrist injuries. An understanding of potential factors when assessing golf injuries, such as volume of repetitive practice, warm up, swing mechanics and physical conditioning, comes into the scope of practice of an Osteopath working on tour, as well as assistance in post round recovery.

Roy loves sharing what Osteopathy has to offer within the world of elite sport and working alongside and learning from other practitioners. He also runs a practice in Romford,  with other Osteopaths in a clinic offering nutrition, podiatry and counselling alongside Osteopathy.

Case Study: Josh Wisson BCNO Group Student

Josh Wisson, a student currently studying a Master of Osteopathy with us, also plays as a midfielder for Sheppey United FC.

Here he talks about his career and why he chose to study Osteopathy:

“Like most young children I was obsessed with playing football, and at 17 years old I was fortunate enough to be picked to represent England Schoolboys U18’s. This resulted in several trials at professional clubs. While these didn’t work out, I found myself playing a high level of semi- professional football, allowing me to get paid to play football but giving me the freedom to study alongside this. Recently my football team Sheppey United made history by making it to the first round of the FA Cup and being selected to play live on ITV.

I chose to study Osteopathy as it helped me greatly during my teenage years to get back from injuries and growing pains while playing a high level of football. I was also fascinated by the holistic approach it has to healthcare which is something I believe not enough healthcare professions do.

I chose to study at the BCNO group because of the facilities here and the wide range of nationalities of students on the course which opens many doors for the future in work life but also social life.

Once graduating I plan to work in a busy clinic to get as much experience as possible, and to put the skills I’ve learnt into practice straight away. After this I would love to work in elite sports such as football or formula 1, using Osteopathy to elicit that extra 1% of physical performance for elite athletes. I would also love to have a clinic of my own in the future treating all kinds of patients, from young athletes to elderly and to children.”

josh wisson 2

Case Study: Pierre Meslet, Sports Osteopathy & Rehabilitation

French-born Pierre graduated from the European School of Osteopathy in 2011, after first gaining a degree in Sports & Exercise Science and a Diploma of Physiotherapy (Canada). Pierre has a special interest in sports Osteopathy and was a member of the medical team at the London 2012 Olympic Games and 2017 World Para Athletics Championships.

After working as an associate Osteopath in Singapore for several years, he now practices in South West London, where he offers office and home visits (Osteopathy and rehabilitation).

By managing his own diary, Pierre enjoys a flexible career that allows him to enjoy family life and also pursue his own passions, including training and competing in the Marathon des Sables, a six-day 250km race in the Sahara known as the toughest footrace on the planet.

What our students say

“I chose the modified attendance course as it was structured in a way that allowed me to maintain my current full-time employment and study alongside it. I had been looking at Osteopathy courses for a few years, but all the other formats of study offered weren’t compatible with my job. Due to the minimal time required away from work, my employer fully supported me in undertaking the degree.” Jamie, Year 1, BSc (Hons) Osteopathy student and working as a soft-tissue therapist at a Premier League football club

“I chose to study osteopathy because I am passionate about the human body and I am also passionate about helping people… The tutors and staff at BCOM  have been brilliant, my fellow students have been  great and I have enjoyed every step of the journey.” Takunda Pswarayi, BCOM 2022 graduate

“The quality of teaching and support at BCOM is first class and provides a solid foundation to becoming a well-rounded osteopath. Overall, the course has exceeded my expectations and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering osteopathy.” Sabrina Chow, BCOM 2018 Graduate