We finally got a chance to sit down with Sports & Spinal Albury Wodonga’s founder, Vaughan Saunders, to chat with him. We find out things like why he became an Osteopath, what he enjoys doing in his spare time and how he has dealt with his own injuries.
Vaughan, where did you grow up and what did you enjoy so much about it that it made you come back after uni?
I grew up in the beautiful North East Vic town of Beechworth…..and my childhood years were amazing. The beautiful weather, the picturesque scenery, the relaxed atmosphere, the friendly people and of course the easily accessible golf courses made it a no brainer to move back here. There is soooo much to do here. Why would you live anywhere else?
The classic – what got you into Osteopathy?
I did not discover it the “normal” way. Osteopaths of my vintage have generally discovered Osteopathy after they have had an injury that no one could fix until they found their Osteopath. For me, it certainly wasn’t that.
To be completely honest, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. My father suggested, when we both realised I was not going to be the elite athlete I had aspired to become, that I should look at becoming a physiotherapist and potentially travel the world with the elite sportspeople. Helping people is something I had enjoyed so I was sold.
I didn’t get the ENTER of 95 required at that stage to get into physiotherapy at the two Melbourne Uni’s, and despite being offered a position here at CSU, the allure of the city life for a young gentleman was too much to resist.
Again, with my fathers wisdom (you won’t hear me say that often ;)), he suggested trying Osteopathy, because like Physiotherapy, they help people recover from their injuries. So I literally went to uni with no real idea on what I had got myself into. The plan was to get through one year, with good marks, then transfer across to physio.
The first week of uni was scary to say the least and I was like a deer in headlights, but I loved it. The Osteopathic philosophy of looking at how the whole body moves rather than just a small, localised area made soooooo much more sense to me. I was hooked and I still love what I do to this day.
Vaughan, have you had any serious injuries?
I have been lucky in my career and have avoided serious injuries. I absolutely believe it was because I was never quick or daring enough to be injured. I managed to play a season of under 18’s football with a few broken ribs and I have strained my right quad more times than I would like to remember.
Multiple concussions is possibly the biggest one. As an Osteopath who has recently completing a concussion course, I now understand how poorly I managed this.
What rehab did you do and what are you doing now to prevent them from happening again?
To be honest, these are all cases of what not to do….which is also educational in it’s own way. I have just learnt the hard way. To be honest, when I suffered most of these injuries, I was young and silly. It was a classic case of the “she’ll be right” Australian attitude and being blissfully unaware that what I was doing was wrong. There were so many mistakes and lessons that I now understand could’ve been way more disastrous, I have written about them in a blog, which you can read about here. Naughty boy Vaughan.
What have you enjoyed about your time thus far at Sports & Spinal Albury Wodonga?
Everything. Starting this clinic was the best decision I have ever made in my working life. But I should say that, being the bloke who started it. Ultimately if I don’t enjoy it then I’ve only got myself to blame. Sports & Spinal Albury Wodonga has become everything I wanted it to be. A place where people want to come, in fact they get excited about coming. Our philosophy is to treat and educate people with the goal of making Albury Wodonga the happiest, healthiest place in Australia, if not the world, through amazing healthcare…….and from the feedback we are getting from the community our vision is becoming reality.
The reason – I had a real sense that people weren’t getting looked after the way they really wanted. They would shop around until they finally settled because they had decided that it is all the same. I wanted to be different. Our secret ingredient……we make it our mission that we treat everyone with the same love and care you would give to a family member…..every single time.
As our brand started resonating more and more with the Albury Wodonga community, we outgrew the space we shared with the Back On Track Physio team and started looking for our “forever home” in Albury. We needed somewhere that would match the care we provide our clients. I think everyone that has been to our new home at 715 Young Street would agree that we have succeeded in doing that. Our Wodonga clinic is the next big project…….watch this space.
I love that other health clinics are now looking up to us and copying what we are doing. From the environment we have created and the soft touches we have added, to fully embracing modern technology, like easy-to-use exercise prescription programs and being the first clinic to bring state-of-the-art assessment technology that is often only used by elite sporting institutions, to the region . It can only benefit our local community, which is our mission after all.
I absolutely love hearing about the positive impact our team has managed to have on our Albury Wodonga and surrounding community. The glowing reports. The big wins. The life-changing experiences. It makes me so proud of our team. They are awesome…..and we are forever thankful to our wonderful clients for trusting us enough to continually refer family and friends to our clinic. It is the greatest compliment we can receive.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spare time? What is that?……haha….classic dad joke. I love hanging out with my two energetic boys and my lovely wife. The boys love going on a bike ride and “helping” me mow the lawn, following me around with their plastic mower and small wheelbarrow. When I get some me time, golf is definitely the sport I choose to pursue.
What is your favourite sport and sporting team Vaughan?
My favourite sport is undoubtedly golf…..but the best team in the world would have to be the Essendon Football Club. 16 premierships and still going strong (I can dream, surely). Apart from a minor, well-documented setback a few years ago, this club has stood for inclusiveness for longer than I can remember. I must admit though, I wouldn’t mind them making a grand final any time soon.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I have had 5 hole in ones……does that count? Well they did because they were in competitions. I’ll be honest, a few have been lucky. But I believe if you are a good person then good things can happen.
Very wise Vaughan. Let’s hope it continues to be the case.