Our History

History of Teesside Sports Injury Centre,
By Steve Smelt, Managing Director

I first had the concept of Teesside Sports Injury Centre in 2003. I was aware that the new BSc Sports Therapy programme at Teesside University had been responsible for qualifying graduates without a recognised route to employment. Students were being persuaded to come to Middlesbrough from all corners of the British Isles, and beyond. However, at the end of their period of study were being allowed to drift away. I thought, as a University, we could do more to help our graduates.

I knew the quality and expertise of our graduates having taught them for three years and understood there was a niche in the market for top quality sports injury clinics offering diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. I thought the University could fill that gap. I envisaged the University opening sports injury clinics to be run on social enterprise lines employing recently graduated therapists, being aided by qualified staff, giving the new therapists employability skills with which to open their own clinics in the future.

This was my quest and in 2005 Teesside Sports Injury Centre, the first of its type in the North East of England, was established as a business to be run as a Social Enterprise. To this day we continue to employ newly qualified sports therapy graduates to treat sports injuries from people in the local community, with therapists being paid on a client basis. The remaining money per client is retained by the business to cover consumables and rent. Any additional income would be used to finance the opening of future clinics and to further the Continued Professional Development of the graduates.

Initially two clinics were set up at Stokesley Leisure Centre and in the University’s Incubation Centre in The Stephenson Building before being transferred to The Victoria Road Building, where we remain to this day. The Billingham Forum clinic was opened shortly afterwards. This meant Teesside Sports Injury Clinic had three clinics, which is the case to present day. Since its conception it has employed 26 graduates with many using the experience to further their careers: 9 have been employed in higher education, 8 have gone on to open their own clinics and 2 have had the opportunity of working in professional sport. The 5 qualified full time teaching staff employed have had the opportunity to use the injuries seen at the clinic for their own research and possibly, more importantly, been able to have up to date informed case studies to enhance their teaching experience.

From these beginning the business has secured contracts with 3DREhab Co. Ltd. dealing with Insurance Referrals from major Private Health Schemes. We also provide support for Stockton Borough Council and their Tees Active Sports Programme, where we treat
any injuries sustained by these performers in exchange for rental facilities within The Billingham Forum. The high profile athletes include Olympic Sprinter Richard Kilty and Olympic Swimmers Jemma Lowe and Jessica Dickens, to name a few, are some of the athletes we regularly treat. We also have a contract with Teesside University Occupational Health advisor Anne Richardson, whereby we treat work-related injuries within the university, with the aim of reducing “sickness” leave.

The business has also developed secondary financial benefits with its interactions with the general public, local doctors’ referrals, and local sports groups, local and regional sporting events. The staff also regularly attend sporting associations and clubs and give talks on appropriate sports injuries, promoting the injury clinic, and by proxy the university profile, to a wider audience. The clinics have as a result secured a reputable, sustained and thriving client base.

Recent updates to the company website www.teessidesportsinjury.co.uk enables more interaction between ourselves and patients. Our online booking system is highly praised by staff and patients for its ease of use. Further updates and interaction with social media are also raising this client interaction and profile of the clinic.

Awards Received
The Business Plan of the Year Award by Teesside University in 2006
Evening Gazette Business of the Year 2006

Interested in the following?

  • Setting up occupational health referral service for your business
  • Information evening at your club: therapist lead tuition on foam rolling, stretching, common injuries in your sport – prevention, rehabilitation, treatment

Contact Pippa Carrick at p.carrick@tees.ac.uk for more information.