Otago middle distance specialist and physiotherapist Geoff Anderson credits some of his success at the 2017 Masters Games in Auckland to sound pre-race conditioning.
Quite apart from the scores of kilometres covered on foot and by bicycle in advance of the event, time spent at Dunedin’s heated physio pool helped Geoff to iron out a few niggling training injuries.
Geoff Anderson (right) with star New Zealand athlete Sir John Walker
He went on to win Silver in the 500 metres, and a Gold in the 1500 metres at the Masters.
A strong advocate for intensive preparation, Geoff strongly believes that a focus on injury prevention underpins all success in track and field as well as cross country.
After starting out as a secondary school teacher, Geoff made quite a late start in physiotherapy, after graduating in 1989.
Always intrigued by anatomy and how the human body works, he soon began to concentrate on physiotherapy of the foot, hand and spine. He also found post-surgical rehabilitation to be of abiding interest.
One of his first job placements was at the renowned Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Rotorua, where he worked with arthritis patients.
The Breakfast Club
Geoff and his wife Barbara have owned and operated their busy clinic in the Dunedin suburb of Caversham for some years.
Outside of working hours, Geoff is very involved with athletics and cross-country at a community level.
He helps take two early morning training sessions (called “The Breakfast Club”) at his old school, Kings High School in Dunedin.
Keen runners aged 10 to 25 who arrive early enough are encouraged to join and as word continues to spread, more young athletes from the city and surrounding districts turn up.
When injury becomes condition
Asked to describe a memorable intervention, Geoff refers to his rehabilitation efforts with competitive athlete injured in a training accident.
Complications from surgery left this person with a bio-mechanical condition which persisted for some years before accurate diagnosis.
Strength testing demonstrated that lower limb extension had become limited. The athlete’s body had begun to overcompensate, putting unnecessary stress on the other limb, which resulted in persistent cramping on the unaffected side.
Accurate diagnostics, followed by a modest regime of gentle physio and manipulation has returned almost complete freedom of movement and extension, leading to full re-engagement with competitive sport.
Stories such as this reflect the genuine pleasure of his work as a physiotherapist, Geoff remarks.
While his life seems packed with professional and sporting challenges, Geoff is proud to say that he still finds time to cycle across the city to work each day.
Rain or shine, that effort doubles as training for the next big event.
Geoff Anderson has a Diploma in Physiotherapy from Otago; a Post Graduate Diploma in Manipulative Physiotherapy; and is also a Registered Acupuncturist.