Sports Physiotherapist Phumzile Ngobese Aims to Improve Lives Through Sport

by | Nov 23, 2021

CSA U19 and Kaizer Chiefs Reserve team physiotherapist, Phumzile Ngobese’s greatest ambition is to own a physiotherapy practice where she can assist in improving the quality of life through movement and exercise.

Currently working on her Master’s Degree at University of Pretoria, Ngobese graduated in 2012 with an Honour’s Degree in BSC Physiotherapy from University of Witwatersrand.

After completing her sports physiotherapy course in 2016, Ngobese was exposed to new opportunities when she joined Dave Milner’s Private Practice and was given the chance to also join the Kaizer Chiefs youth academy. 

She grabbed these opportunities with both hands, highlighting winning the Multichoice Diski Challenge Shield in 2018 with the Chiefs reserve team as one of her biggest accomplishments.

Ngobese is now preparing to travel with the CSA U19 team to the 2022 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup set to take place in West Indies in January.

Speaking with Tlamelo Kganakga, Ngobese chats about the role of a sports physiotherapist and shares advice to women who want to get into the industry.


Phumzile, thank you for chatting to us. Please tell us about yourself.

I graduated in 2012 at the University of Witwatersrand with an Honours Degree in BSC Physiotherapy. This was then followed by 3 years of community service at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

My interest in sports physiotherapy started when I joined Dave Milner’s private practice in 2016. I completed my Sports Physiotherapy course in 2016 and was presented with an opportunity to join the Kaizer Chiefs Football Club Youth academy which I grabbed with both hands. 

I could tell you that I was ready for the new role but that would not be true; sports physiotherapy was different from all that I had been exposed to so far, but I was determined to learn! I was fortunate to join a practice which was made up of people who are passionate about what they do. Dave Milner and the team not only took me on, but they enabled me to grow in the field through adapting my learnings into practical experience in sports physiotherapy.

I have seen some amazing things while working with Kaizer Chiefs but the highlight of my time with them so far would have to be being a part of the Kaizer Chiefs reserve team which won the Multichoice Diski Challenge Shield in 2018!


Please tell us about being a physiotherapist for the CSA U19 team and how it came about?

There are a few important things that I’ve learned in my career and one of them is to see an amazing opportunity. When I found out that the CSA U19 team were looking for a physiotherapist, I knew this was one of them, so I put my name in the hat and the rest is history.


Please tell us what being a sports physiotherapist involves.

A sports physiotherapist is involved in evidence based and holistic prevention and management of injuries resulting from recreational exercise or athletic activity. “Sports physiotherapists restore optimal function, contributes to the enhancement of sports performance and athletes quality of life” (Physiopedia 2021)


What process do you follow in assessing a rehabilitating athlete?

It is important to do a comprehensive assessment and get a diagnosis when an athlete is injured. Each athlete is different and therefore will require a tailor-made sport specific rehabilitation plan.

Collaboration and communication with the multidisciplinary team is essential in injury management and rehabilitation of an athlete. The aim is for athletes to return safely to their specific sport and at their optimal level of performance.


What does a typical day look like in your life?

I usually start my day by going for a run or going to gym. I then locum at the hospital or do house calls, depending on what is scheduled for the day. I also go to training sessions at Kaizer Chiefs youth academy.

The weekends are usually with the Kaizer Chiefs reserve team for their home or away fixtures. 


You will be travelling with the U19 squad to the 2022 ICC Cricket World Cup in West Indies. How are the preparations coming along on your side?

The entire management and medical team have been working hard in preparing for the ICC CWC next year, we have and continue to work well as team to ensure that the squad is ready for the tournament.


What is it that you think people need to know about sports physiotherapists?

Sports physiotherapists assess and treat all sports or exercise related injuries at all levels and ages not just elite athletes. Your activity can be a walk around the block, training for the comrades or playing for the U/13 school soccer team; the goal to help everyone perform at their optimum.


What’s your advice to women who want to get into sports physiotherapy?

Firstly, it is important to know and understand why you want to be a sports physiotherapist, this will help you when you encounter obstacles along the way because there will be plenty! Surround yourself with good mentors who are as passionate and dedicated as you. “There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passions – in a way that serves the world and you” – Richard Branson


What else are you interested in besides being a sports physiotherapist?

I am currently doing my Master’s Degree at the University of Pretoria in preparation of teaching and training other physiotherapists one day. 


What is your greatest ambition?

My greatest ambition is to have my own physiotherapy practice and brand where I can continue assisting in improving people’s quality of life through movement and exercise.


What do you think of gsport and its impact on women’s sports?

gsport is uplifting women in sport and playing an important role in not only covering women’s sport but also providing a platform in which young girls can be motivated to follow their dreams.


Photo 1 Caption: CSA U19 and Kaizer Chiefs Reserve team physiotherapist, Phumzile Ngobese’s greatest ambition is to own a physiotherapy practice where she can assist in improving the quality of life through movement and exercise. Photo: Supplied


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