Reflecting on the UC Capitals and the world of elite sport with SportsCare’s Katja Gosser-Duncan

November 30, 2023

Meet Katja from SportsCare

Katja’s journey into physiotherapy unveils a narrative shaped by her innate connection to athleticism. Having been an athlete herself, her passion for providing optimal care for all patients, emphasising communication and pain management, fueled her drive. Exposure to competitive environments, particularly in national netball tournaments, proved pivotal. The sidelines became a transformative space where she witnessed the culmination of hard work, team spirit, and the stakes involved.

This immersive experience, rather than a meticulously planned career path, kindled her desire to seize opportunities as they arose. From working in softball with teams from Queensland to her role as assistant Physiotherapist with the UC Capitals in the 22/23 season, basketball emerged as a captivating sport. The dynamic nature of the game, coupled with the exceptional athleticism of the athletes, resonated with her. The invitation to serve as the UC Caps’ Physiotherapist in the 23/24 season was met with enthusiasm, marking Katja’s commitment to her journey in the athletic arena.

Being a part of the UC Capitals’ team

In her role as the UC Capitals’ physiotherapist this season, Katja reflects on the demands of working with a professional basketball team. She acknowledges the perpetual state of being ‘on,’ as the fast-paced nature of the job necessitates swift responses to injuries, especially with games scheduled just days apart. Katja emphasises the importance of garnering support from her social circle, including her partner, as the role extends beyond office hours, involving constant communication and administrative tasks. 

Her proactive approach involves establishing connections with players well in advance, allowing her to delve into their injury histories and collaboratively plan preseason preparations. By addressing potential issues early, she aims to avoid managing ongoing concerns at the season’s outset, reserving time and energy for unforeseeable challenges. As the season unfolds, Katja works in tandem with the team, fine-tuning elements and witnessing the collective effort come together, shaping a successful and well-managed season.

Reflecting on women in sport

Katja’s reflections on women’s sports, particularly women’s basketball, reveal a profound understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by female athletes. She emphasises that physiotherapy extends beyond mere physical treatment, recognising the intricate interplay of physical, psychological, and personal elements in an athlete’s journey.

For female athletes, the stakes are higher as their bodies are not just a vessel for performance but also a source of livelihood. Katja underscores the financial strain, pointing out that, unlike injuries for the general population, athletes often grapple with the threat to their earning capacity. Drawing attention to the disparity in funding between sports, she contrasts the challenges faced by women in underfunded sports like basketball with those in more well-supported sporting codes.

The precarious nature of female athletes’ careers is a central theme in Katja’s perspective. She highlights the lack of long-term contracts, the absence of off-season security, and the necessity for athletes to juggle part-time jobs alongside their elite-level commitments. This delicate balance, compounded by the uncertainty of getting paid only when playing, adds an extra layer of stress.

In advocating for a nuanced approach to athlete care, Katja rejects a “suck it up” mentality. Instead, she stresses the importance of acknowledging and validating the unique challenges faced by female athletes. By understanding and addressing the holistic impact of sports on these women, she aims to minimise disruptions and serve as a support system rather than an additional hurdle.

SportsCare guides our team

SportsCare thrives on a community-centric ethos, where our culture is deeply rooted in supporting both our staff and the local community. We prioritise real-world experience for our Physiotherapists, fostering a hands-on approach that extends beyond traditional boundaries. Our commitment to empowering individuals is exemplified through initiatives like providing practical experience in the community, working with athletes and everyday people alike.

If you’d like to find out more about working with SportsCare, feel free to get in touch and connect with us on the SportsCare Canberra LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook pages.