Former Otago Volts Cricket team member James McMillan learnt a lot about rehabilitating the body after injury during his 15 years as a first class player. The veteran bowler had a reputation of being one of the fastest on the domestic cricket scene, but he suffered repeated shoulder injuries, stress fractures and torn ligaments as a result, and had long periods off the field and away from his team mates.
“It’s made me much more empathetic and given me a much better understanding of what people go through when they’re injured and can’t earn a living. It can be very tough.”
In the off season, James worked as a support person in gyms and for an occupational therapy company, and found he had a passion for helping people with disabilities.
“I used to help this guy who had locked-in syndrome, he’d come into the gym and a few of us would help him do his workout. It was inspirational watching him, he had so much focus and determination; it kept pushing my interest in occupational therapy.”
This year, the 37 year old father of two young children decided it was time to think about life after professional cricket and a career change.
“I heard good things about the Occupational Therapy programme at Otago Polytechnic, so I went to a few of their open nights, met some of the tutors and it seemed a perfect fit.”
James says it’s a challenge studying full time, working as a personal trainer and being a Dad but it’s made him more focused.
“There’s such a variety of topics that you cover that makes the programme so interesting, and the placements were a real eye opener. I really enjoy it and the people you meet."