What did you enjoy about growing up locally?
Growing up in Beechworth was great. I may not have appreciated it as much as I should have when I was younger. The fact that I could have a backyard big enough to kick a footy or play some cricket is definitely something I took for granted before I moved to Melbourne. Knowing that it was safe to walk to school, being able to have a conversation with anyone wherever you go in town and having everyone greet you with a smile and a hello. The country lifestyle is brilliant.
What got you in to Osteopathy?
After high school I was committed to study Exercise Science to better help the sporting population in the way they move. After a few major sporting injuries myself, I soon discovered that I loved learning about the anatomy of the human body. I knew I wanted to help people get over their pain and get them back to what they love doing. The question was, how do I manage to achieve this. The light bulb moment came after attended the student Osteopathic clinic in Bundoora. I could not believe how much some of the student Osteopaths were able to help me. I was sold. Not long after I had signed the papers and transferred courses to begin my career path as an Osteopath.
What injuries have you had?
Unfortunately for a 24 year old I could literally talk about my injuries for hours, but to summarise as briefly as possible I’ve had three knee operations to repair three bucket handle meniscal tears and resultant chondral damage, the last one bad enough to remove my cartilage altogether from my right knee. I’ve cracked a few ribs playing football, dislocated my shoulder throwing the Frisbee, I had a 10cm tear in my quadricep that occurred during a footy drill. But what turned out to be the nail in the coffin to my “contact” sporting career happened playing a social football tournament where standing on a weed in the grass ruined my ankle. I tore the three major ligaments in my lateral ankle to the point it was quite literally hanging on by a thread. I also tore the syndesmosis, which is the ligamentous sheath that was holding my shin bones together, I broke the dome of my talus (a bone in the ankle) and cracked the lateral surfaces of that bone. To finish it all off, I had severe tendon damage as well. This has now taken two major surgeries, two screws and now over two years of rehabilitation.
What rehab did you do?
Where do I start? I could bore you with the nitty gritty details of my rehab but I’ll try to summarise it pretty quickly. As a really keen footballer I was willing to do anything to get back on the park. After every surgery it started with very basic movements, straightening my leg up and down for days on end, then doing it with as little resistance as a towel. I had to re-learn how to walk. I spent countless hours in the gym trying to rebuild strength, starting with less than body weight and slowly working to the point that I could leg press 3-4x my own weight. Once that strength is there it’s time to start rehabilitating all of those match day activities, such as the running, landing, the twisting and turning. This meant working hard every day for 4-12 months depending on which injury I had.
So why did you keep getting injured?
I ask myself this question every day!! I get the same emotions that all of our client’s often experience. I get daily soreness. I’m still sick and tired of not being able to do what I want to do after so many injuries. I’ve spent many hours trying to work out what I could’ve done better or differently, but at the end of the day I knew I’d done the work. I’d been cleared by all of my physios and surgeons to play. So most of it is down to bad luck maybe some bad genetics or biomechanics. Maybe if I’d had a MAT or SFMA assessment with Vaughan things may have been different. However, all the training in the world can’t protect you from a 90kg man coming across your knee…….and I’ve probably stepped on a thousand weeds in my life but I got this one just right, or wrong, depending on how you look at it. Every time I returned to sport I was the strongest and fittest I’d ever been and the best I’d ever felt. I never felt like I was a significant risk of hurting myself again. Unfortunately, bad luck happens, in life and in sport. We can’t control everything and I’ve made my peace with that, even though it still sucks.
What did you learn or find interesting through it all?
I’ve learnt so much about rehabilitation. I’m well aware of the time it takes and the mental demons that come along with long term recovery. I’ve also learnt a lot about being a practitioner. I’ve learnt how important it is to just listen to your client, hear their struggles and try to understand what they are going through. I’ve appreciated the importance of continuing to motivate them and being willing to go that extra step to get them back fit and healthy. I believe learning all of this at such an early stage in my career, even before I had finished my degree, is going to be a massive bonus throughout my osteo career.
What are your favourite sports?
To be honest I love most of them, but AFL is my number one. I love looking at stats, picking fantasy teams, playing it and watching it. I dabbled in swimming, tennis and played a lot of cricket growing up however my injuries have slowly started to pick them off one by one. Now I’m really trying to improve my golf game, although if anyone will find a way to injure themselves golfing it will be me.
Which AFL team do you support and why bother supporting them?
I’ve been a member of North Melbourne for as long as I can remember, much to my dad’s disgust. He thought he’d brainwashed Richmond into my brain for 4 years, only to be outdone a great family friend, Tom White, who converted me to North for the mere price of a 50c lolly bag. I’m not sure dad ever forgave Tom, but he has the last laugh now. I just hope one day we’ll finally reach the top!
What’s your favourite movie?
I’ve always been a sucker for Space Jam. I must’ve watched it 100 times as a kid and I won’t change the channel if I scroll across it today.
What music are you in to?
I don’t spend a hell of a lot of time listening to music, but my first ever concert was seeing Powderfinger on the border. I’ll always love listening to their music. It never gets old.
Dr Cameron Bayliss
B Hlth Sc, B App Sc (Osteo)