Nicholas Flanagan, a former Mr Gay Northern Ireland, has won FHT Sports Therapist of the Year for his work with HIV patients, at an international awards ceremony.
Organised by the Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT), the event was held on Wednesday, 26 October, at the prestigious One Whitehall Place, London, to bring much deserved recognition to high-calibre practitioners working in the sports, complementary and holistic beauty industries.
Speaking of his win, Nicholas said:
“I am honoured to win this award as it amplifies my ability to reach and connect with patients and peers. I am in a unique position to drive forward with positive change, allowing me to continue to champion diversity in healthcare. It is a platform to showcase what we, as therapists, can do to improve collective health.”
When a close friend was diagnosed with HIV, Nicholas was shocked by people’s initial reaction to this news, including his own. While completing his sports therapy degree, this prompted him to focus his dissertation on exploring manual therapy interventions in the clinical area of HIV.
He then went on to create an innovative, experiential presentation to engage the minds and hearts of therapists, and inform and educate them on the subject of HIV. This has taken him to universities, as well as work places and community settings, and in the words of one spectator, his presentation “opened my eyes to the possibilities we have as manual therapists, to affect the health of not only sports people, but everyone”.
Paul Battersby, President of the FHT, said:
“These awards are designed to recognise individuals and businesses that are excelling in therapy practice and education. Winners like Nicholas should be exceptionally proud to be selected from a pool of high-calibre peers, in a ceremony that is recognised across the industry. Well done”.
Nicholas, a postgraduate sports medicine student, originally from Knockenduff, Tramore, Co. Waterford, is currently operating a physical therapy and rehabilitation practice in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He would like to thank everyone who has helped him to reach this defining moment in his career.
The FHT Excellence Awards were first launched in 2011, to showcase the enterprising and innovative work being carried out on a daily basis by practising complementary, sports and holistic beauty therapists. The awards were also a valuable opportunity to inspire other therapists, to push forward the boundaries of best practice.
In 2012 the Excellence in Education awards category was added to the portfolio, as a natural extension to the existing awards, as so many members would talk about their inspirational teachers and outstanding students.
The FHT Sports Therapist of the Year category was kindly sponsored by VTCT.