Meet our new physio Diarmaid Donohue

Our new physiotherapist Diarmaid Donohoe hails from Ireland, having just moved to Sydney in 2023. He’s worked with the best, including as a senior physio for the UK Ministry of Defence and at elite-level sports.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Well, I’ve always had a huge passion for sports. From a young age, I’d be glued to the television watching soccer, Gaelic football, rugby, golf, tennis – you name it. My earliest memories of watching the 1998 World Cup really sparked my love for sports in general.

Being new to Sydney, I’m always looking to throw myself into something new – for the challenge, new experiences and to make memories. Aussie Rules, with its similarities to Gaelic football, is a sport I’ve been interested in. I’m planning on sticking on my boots (the division 3 team will be where I’ll start I think!) and testing out whether my Gaelic football skills and body will hold up.

Why did you choose physio as a career?

Having played many sports as a youngster, including swimming, rugby and Gaelic football, I unfortunately picked up a few injuries along the way. My first memory of going to see a physio was at the age of 10 when I presented with ‘growing pains’. This turned out to be Sever’s disease (heel pain).

I guess this sparked my initial interest in becoming a physio. Being able to help people get out of pain, and especially to be able to work with sporty individuals and assist them back to full fitness again, really sparked my interest.

What are some of your career highlights?

I graduated from DCU in Dublin and went on to work in the Sports Surgery Clinic in Dublin. Here I started as a junior, working in one of the leading clinics in Europe with some excellent mentors.

I was fortunate to spend a large amount of time in the sports clinic, treating athletes recovering from major injuries – ACL knee ruptures, chronic hip and groin injuries – with a large proportion of clients playing field sports such as Gaelic games and rugby.

From there I set off to the UK and completed my Master’s degree in London, where I spent the next seven years working.

My highlights include spending two seasons working with a Premier League football team. I gained some invaluable experience working with the most elite, but it was tiring work!

My most recent position was as a physiotherapist for the UK military for over two years. Here I worked with some very interesting characters, including extremely driven special forces soldiers who held very demanding and pressurised roles.

Assisting these individuals back to full fitness was highly challenging but the most rewarding. Being surrounded by such driven individuals pushed me to become the best physio I could be.

What are your areas of interest when it comes to work?

What I particularly enjoy treating are lower limb injuries and I’ve always had a fascination with the shoulder. I spent several years treating a high number of post-operative knee conditions while working in private practices in London. Here I developed excellent relationships with the top consultants in London.

Cases included those struggling to recover from cruciate knee reconstructions and bringing people back to full independence after total knee replacements. These journeys often involved several months of rehab and therefore really building that personal connection with the client.

Seeing someone make a return to their chosen sport, achieving their long-term goal, such as that first run following knee surgery, and witnessing the joy that this brings them – that’s what makes the job so worthwhile and it’s why I became a physio.

Describe your ideal client

I love to work with motivated and driven clients. Those that I can see traits of myself in really give me energy. As a lifelong exerciser and someone who takes on fitness challenges each year, I take a special interest in those who are training for something, such as a first marathon or Hyrox event. It tells me that they hold an internal drive that pushes them outside their comfort zone and are trying to better themselves – something I try to live by.

One thing future clients must know is that I WILL make you work hard! You can expect rigorous rehab plans pushing you to come back better and stronger than before. I’ll always state that their journey through rehab will require lots of diligence, take lots of effort and that there will be ups and downs.

But there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Having suffered many injuries myself (and going through a nasty hip injury currently) I’m able to relate to my patients.

What’s next?

I always harp on about having something in the calendar. Set yourself a goal, write it down and stick it on the wall so you see it every morning. And it must have a date, or you end up without any real direction.

This year I have a few events booked in, including the latest fitness craze to hit Australia – Hyrox. Hyrox is a fitness race that’s been compared to a mixture of CrossFit and running. I entered my first event back in 2021 and have since taken part in several events across Europe.

Hyrox Barcelona 2023

The highlight was last year placing on the podium in Barcelona with my good friend in the Male Pairs division and in the process qualifying for the Hyrox world finals. With Hyrox now exploding worldwide, I’m looking forward to seeing how I fare this summer when the event comes to Sydney. It’s such a fun event (minus the physical pain during the race!) and is very accessible to anyone who enjoys running. I encourage everyone to get involved.

Set yourself a new fitness challenge this year, step outside your comfort zone and in the process, you’ll become a better version of yourself.

You can book a physiotherapy session or strength & conditioning session with Diarmaid here. He also conducts strength tests (currently free as an introductory offer) and running assessments.