Your new life really can begin at 40!
You know what they say, “life begins at 40” well it really can. The idea of starting again and retraining may seem daunting but think of it as the start of the next phase in your life, an opportunity to do something you really find interesting. The College of Osteopaths only runs part-time courses so the majority of our students are mature learners; working, looking after their home life and studying towards a new career in osteopathy.
Brian Cole is in the marines. He now has 3 sports injuries clinics and is on his to way to completing his final year on the course. He has even managed to find some time to write a little bit about his journey so far. If you are inspired by his story take a look at our open day page and come along in February and find out more. September comes around sooner than you think and you could begin your journey to becoming an osteopath too!
Marine to Osteopath
There were several reasons why I wanted to undertake further training to become an osteopath at the age of 40. The main reason is that after 22 years of service in the Royal Marines my contract was complete. While being in the Marines I represented Great Britain at Cross Country Skiing, Biathlon, and athletics. I now wanted a new and rewarding career which interested me and somehow involved me working with, and around, people and mainly athletes, as I have been doing for the last 12 years. Being an elite sportsperson myself I attended weekly visits to physiotherapists and osteopaths to maintain and treat the many injuries that I did have. During treatment, we talked about how he became an osteopath and the ups and downs of an osteopath’s career. I decided that perhaps this was something that I would be able to do.
The Perfect Course for Me
After much research on the internet I narrowed my choice of courses down to two. I unfortunately did not have the funds to begin a full time degree course. I needed to be able to continue my work within the marines and somehow study and train to become an Osteopath. The Staffordshire program of 2 weekends per month for 5 years offered me the opportunity to do this. The reviews from past attendees were excellent so I took the plunge in 2012 signing up for the course starting in September. The course will provide me with a degree qualification in osteopathy which is a requirement to work as an osteopath in professional sport.
I have really enjoyed the structure of the course. The monthly two weekend practical sessions are an excellent opportunity to meet up with everyone to establish how they are getting on but most importantly to learn the practical skills.
Sometimes it is who you know
You gain qualifications throughout the course. I set myself up as a sports injuries therapist and advertised on local running club websites and began to build my sports injuries clinic. I was then approached by the Great Britain Athletics Team to cover the World 100k Championships in Holland which I accepted and attended. I learnt so much from the World Championships. I was a little worried I might be out of my depth when working with elite athletes who have weekly physiotherapist treatment. I quickly realised that this was not the case. With my experience of being an elite athlete and the techniques I have learnt from the course I felt at home straight away and able to treat the athletes pre, during and post race. The feedback I gained from the athletes and management was amazing and it made me realise that I have been trained to a very high standard and that I am a very good therapist. On my return to the UK I received a call from the Head of UK athletes to thank me for the work I did out in Holland and to offer me a place on the commonwealth management team as the sports therapist. I treated the commonwealth champion and world champion who both had injuries before the race and both gave amazing feedback to me and the management. The England team won Gold medals in both the women’s and men’s race, had a gold in the women’s individual and silver and bronze in the men’s individual races. On my return from the championships I again received a call from the head of England athletics who thanked me and told me he wants me to be a permanent part of the England and Great Britain’s teams.
Hard work, but worth it.
Fitting in the studying and assignments with a full time job in the Royal Marines and a family with 2 young children has been hard work for me, but with the end of the course fast approaching I can feel a great sense of achievement.
My future goals are to set up an osteopathy practice which is well on the way has I already have three sports therapy clinics. I will keep working with running clubs and with Great Britain Athletics, this has already got my name about and my reputation seems to be a good one. I’m also working towards creating a unique selling point in the area of Osteopathy in order that I can make myself stand out from the crowd.
The course has given me the opportunity to learn about business development, time management and of course the hands-on skills needed to become an osteopath. It gives you all the skills you need to be able to go out in the field and practice in this developing area. I really like the fact that most of the instructors are working as Osteopaths. With the changes and cut-backs in the NHS and their treatments for non-critical injuries I see an opportunity for osteopaths to come to the fore. I am looking forward to my new career that has been given to me from undertaking this fantastic course.
Brian Cole BSc (Hons)
Final Year Osteopathy student.
The College of Osteopaths
For more information about Brian Cole’s clinics see his website:
For more information about open days at The College of Osteopaths click here.