Let us introduce you to Wanda van Niekerk. One of our recently appointed student board members.
At BOSEM, our editorial team consists of a unique and diverse group of growing and established academics and clinicians willing to bring new voices and vigour to the broad Sports & Exercise Medicine field. Yet, we felt incomplete without the voices and views of the next generation of leaders in our field. Hence, we expanded our editorial team with a dedicated student panel – a group of peers and colleagues currently at the undergraduate, BSc, MSc or PhD level and keen to learn more about academic publishing.
Tell us about yourself (where do you work, what is your background, something personal, etc.)?
I am a physio, but not practising anymore. These days I am a learning architect, creating online courses for Physiopedia and Plus, a PhD candidate at HPALS, UCT and a mom of three teenagers. I have always worked in sports and with young athletes and loved being in a team environment. My team looks a bit different now, with everyone at Plus being from all around the world, but it is still great. Although I am not working clinically anymore, I love my profession and am always keen on learning and staying up-to-date with research and clinical practice.
What is your main area of research / clinical expertise?
I am researching lumbar bone stress injuries in young athletes and more specifically in young fast bowlers.
What is your motivation to be a member of the BOSEM team?
Being on this PhD journey (which is taking a while…) has made me realise that I need to surround myself a bit more with colleagues and experts who have been through this / or are going through this, who can advise, motivate and who I can learn from. With being involved with Physiopedia and creating open online content for rehabilitation professionals, I have seen the huge difference we make in providing reliable and freely available resources to clinicians around the globe, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Being part of the BOSEM team allows me to be part of a diverse network of academics and clinicians from whom I can learn, but also learn. It allows me the opportunity to be part of a global community of SEM researchers and clinicians that plays an impactful role in the dissemination of quality and clinically meaningful publications to everyone.
What is a work-related accomplishment that you’re really proud of?
I had a great experience as part of the sports medicine team of a local professional cricket side (a while back, though) and more recently I was part of creating an online introductory programme consisting of 16 short online courses relating to sports and exercise physiotherapy.
Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?
I have an inspiring mentor and supervisor, Prof Janine Gray, whom I learn heaps from, especially how to find a balance between academics, work and family (if there is such a thing…). There are a bunch of inspiring colleagues from all around the world in my global work team whom I learn from daily. Their outlook on life and the rehabilitation profession and how each of us can make a difference is inspiring.
What’s your favourite way to unwind after a busy day?
Give me a good book to read, and I am happy!