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Family of physios celebrates latest Otago graduate

Monday 9 December 2019 10:13pm

Ala-image
Sharon Kearney (left) and Kevin Dysart (right) with their daughter, Otago graduate Ala Dysart (centre).

There’s a real physio family dynasty building in the University of Otago’s School of Physiotherapy.

Ala Dysart (22) graduated as a physiotherapist in Dunedin on Saturday.

Her mother, Sharon Kearney, spent almost two decades as the Silver Ferns physiotherapist in the 1990s and 2000s and is now Netball New Zealand’s NetballSmart Programme Manager. Her father, Kevin Dysart, is also a prominent physiotherapist. Both parents are Otago School of Physiotherapy alumni.

"The earliest memory I have of my mum being a physiotherapist would probably be watching her on TV at the 2003 Netball World Champs when the Silver Ferns won in Jamaica and she was the physiotherapist."

And Ala’s younger sister Evie is about to start her third year of physiotherapy at the University, too.

For Ala, physiotherapy is something she has been aware of most of her life.

“The earliest memory I have of my mum being a physiotherapist would probably be watching her on TV at the 2003 Netball World Champs when the Silver Ferns won in Jamaica and she was the physiotherapist.

“And with my dad I can remember when my sister and I would go to the rest home with him when we were younger.”

But despite this heritage it wasn’t physiotherapy that initially attracted her to University.

“I actually started out my university career doing a double degree of Physical Education and Nutrition but felt it wasn’t for me. So I wrote down what I enjoyed about my current degree and felt that physiotherapist best fit that mould.”

She changed to physiotherapy in 2017 and hasn’t looked back.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming a physiotherapist and learning the different aspects the physiotherapist degree encompasses. The hands-on approach of the degree was very appealing to me and I can’t not mention the social aspects and the people you meet both inside and outside of the degree!”

That social camaraderie is something she’ll take with her as she goes out into the world, she says.

"The hands on-approach of the degree was very appealing to me and I can’t not mention the social aspects and the people you meet both inside and outside of the degree!"

“I have plenty of stories from my time at physio school – the time you spend with your fellow physio students both inside and outside of university hours means you don’t fall short on the story count!

“But I think the coolest story is the friendships you make, and I think the fact that 11 of us have just come back from travelling overseas together is a true telling of that!”

Ala spent her last year of training on clinical placement in Nelson. Her supervisor Alice Scranney, a Clinical Educator with the School of Physiotherapy, said Ala was a friendly, professional, conscientious and fully committed student.

“It has been a pleasure to get to know Ala over the last nine months. I have no doubt that with her family history and support she will be an asset to the physiotherapy profession. I wish her every success for her future.”

Ala says the next step in that future is to head into private practice.

“But I hope to move into sports physiotherapy at some stage throughout my career, and if that happens, who knows where I could end up!”