The Master's Degree in Physical Exercise and Health was created to help the students to learn how to design specific training programmes and to improve the life quality of wide portions of the population. Its objective is to teach highly specialized professionals leadership abilities in any of the sports disciplines, as well and helping them to acquire the knowledge to be able to design exercise programmes for both healthy people and those suffering from any kind of pathology.
The number of people who are active in sports has grown dramatically. Do you think that there has been a change in Spanish people’s mindset when it comes to sports to improve their health?
I lived in Spain for a year and a half, and I really think there has been a mindset change towards people trying to lead healthier lifestyles. People now have the opportunity of walking as a way of transportation around the city, and that helps a lot. Meanwhile, universities really facilitate physical activities and sports. In that sense, the Real Madrid Graduate School is a great example, as it encourages practicing sports and leading a healthy lifestyle (since you’re training to be a sports professional).
What are the challenges that you face as a sports professional who creates rehab therapy for athletes?
I think that there are two main challenges. The first one is creating the right treatment for a high performance athlete who is suffering from a chronic condition (like diabetes, hypertension, asthma…) to help them reach their top performance level whilst always keeping in mind the following in order to create the best therapy: an adequate nutrition, a strength test to define the specific details of the training, the medical history of the athlete, if they are taking any medicines, the professional goals of the athlete… etc.
The other challenge is to help the athlete to create a proper sports routine, as sometimes, when they are just starting their professional sports career, they are less committed and consistent, and suffer from more injuries.
What is key to the successful recovery of the athletes after an injury?
The most important thing is trust; trust in the athlete, and trust in the work of the team. It is essential to have emotional intelligence to understand and support the athlete when injured, as it is a very frustrating and painful period for them, when you need to be able to act as the communication point between the team and the athlete to reach the final goal, whether a very intensive sports training routine or a competition. Finally, if the treatment does not have any impact on the athlete, the physiotherapist must be able to step back and correct the treatment to ensure the successful recovery of the athlete.
What is it that you like the most about physical activity?
I love knowing things like walking for even just 30 minutes a day has a positive impact on your body. I really like too how there is more and more education to make the population aware of how sports can help you to treat a chronic condition. In this sense, sports are key, as they help you build up your self-esteem, discipline, order and constancy, which are things that you can use in other aspects of your life too.
What are the reasons that made you decide to work in the sports industry and that made you choose the Real Madrid Graduate – Universidad Europea?
Since I was little, I’ve been a fan of the Real Madrid football team, and when looking for a masters, I found the partnership between the team and Real Madrid Graduate School. I run marathons and since I was little, I’ve been a lot into sports. It is very interesting, it teaches you how to face challenges, to manage your frustration and especially it teaches you to never give up. At the Real Madrid Graduate School the values are always hard work, effort, respect and overcoming yourself.
Did you ever imagine being where you are today, doing exactly what you are doing?
To be entirely honest with you, no. It is difficult to imagine what you’ll be able to do. I am where I am just now because I believed and trusted in myself. I’ve come to learn that every step you take in your career, adds up to reaching your dream. You always have to work towards reaching your dreams and knowing that there is nothing that you can’t achieve, as long as you work hard.
I’m currently working on opening new investigation and education fields about the benefits of having an active life, and how this can help people with chronic conditions. I’ve been working with several high-performance athletes with whom each little achievement is a success, and now I’ve been offered a job at the Universal Hospital in Costa Rica, where I’ll be sharing all that I learned during my master’s in physical activity and health.
Do you think that your time at the school helped you to develop your career?
My professional point of view has changed dramatically. I think that in order to be a great health professional, you have to learn, discover and know how research works. They taught us the importance of research when it comes to determining the most adequate treatment for patients.
In my country, research in physiotherapy is only starting now, and this is why I think that all the knowledge that I’ve acquired in this master will be a key element to developing it in Costa Rica. It is important to be able to apply all my new knowledge and share it with others.
Now, every time I’m unsure about something, or when I want to learn more about a specific topic, I use a lot of hours to research and try to find previous cases that would help me understand if there was a significant different with other treatments, the intensity, duration and frequency of the research project, and how can this be applied to the population.
You become more demanding with yourself, always wanting to learn more to give the best solutions to your patients. When you get involved with research, you are hooked forever. You will always ask yourself a lot of questions, and probably there are already answers for them. But you’ll also have new projects on your hands, because you can’t find the answer to some things. That’s what I love about it.
What do you think is the added value of the educational proposal from the School? How has it helped you to develop your career and your current job?
I think that research and the Real Madrid values are two key aspects to be able to reach your professional and life goals. I keep them in my heart.
What do you miss the most from your time at the school?
I miss how easy it was for us to develop our professional and academic skills at the School. This is the main difference that the school has against others: the teachers’ and director’s sensitivity to guide us and keep us going. I especially miss my colleagues that became like my family. We are very close, and we respect each other very much.
What differential aspects have you found in the master? The chair of professors, the learning path, facilities, business partnerships, diversity…
The power of the team. The “always work as a team” mindset that you could feel from the teachers, director and students. The respect and the high commitment to learning. Also meeting some of the most prominent researchers in the field such as Alejandro Lucía. Other aspects are the high demand of the master, it makes you give the best of you. And the facilities are also great.
What tip did you received that you’ve never forgotten?
There were many of them, but the one that impacted me the most was from Lidia Brea, the master director. I had some difficult times at the beginning of the master, but she always believed in me and told me to enjoy the process, to dream the impossible and to trust in myself. She told me not to step back. A year after my graduation, I was lucky enough to visit her at the Universidad Europea, and it was a lovely meeting where I came to realize all that I’ve achieved as a professional. She was a very important person for me. Thank you Lidia.
What message would you share with the students that are starting in the school this year?
The masters in Physical activity and health at the Real Madrid Graduate School – Universidad Europea, offers excellence and quality. It is an education that will positively change your vision of the field of physiotherapy through investigation and discipline, and it will help you to keep dreaming and never give up.
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