Zara Ford graduated from the BSO in 1992. Since then she has gone on to build a successful career as an osteopath, established her own complementary health practice, and in 2016 won the ISWC Windsurfing World Championships. Here she tells us a little about her many passions.
Congratulations on winning the windsurfing world chamionships last year. How did you prepare?
I had a hip surgery last January so the preparation wasn’t ideal as I had to get a lot of treatment to help me recover and get me back to normal. Once I recovered, I trained for the championship by doing a lot of cycling, windsurfing and suspension training. I also did core and stability training. I feel I have achieved a lot having gone from getting surgery to winning the world championship.
What got you in to speed windsurfing?
I first windsurfed as a child and really enjoyed it but I got back in to it when I started my first osteopathic job in Milton Keynes, where I started windsurfing with my boss. I also met my husband whilst windsurfing and his entrance into the Windsurfing Championship encouraged me to compete too. In 2009, I came third in the World Championship and then worked my way up to first in 2016. It has been fantastic!
How do you manage your sporting career alongside your osteopathic career?
It is challenging! I have a busy schedule in treating patients part-time, running a clinic and also wind surfing. Being self-employed means I have the opportunity to take as much time off as I want but you can’t plan the weather so you aren’t guaranteed a good training day or a win if you take a day off and it isn’t windy.
What have you been up to in your osteopathic career since graduating from the BSO? Do you have a special interest?
I graduated 24 years ago from the BSO, we even have a 25th class reunion this year, which I’m organising. I started my osteopathic career in Milton Keynes, working in a big sports clinic there. I also taught at the BSO for a number of years, first as a clinic tutor and then taught in class and have just completed six years as a Board Member on the BSO Board. I’ve also completed an MSc Sports Osteopathy, studied Pilates for rehabilitation and hold a license to practice acupuncture.
I’m a big believer in working together with other practitioners. In my clinic, we have a multidisciplinary team of 24 practitioners including osteopaths, physiotherapists, manual therapists, sports therapists, complementary and holistic therapists.
I have a huge interest in sports and sports injuries and have even provided osteopathy to international sports people at a couple of Olympic and sports championships. At my clinic, we help all kinds of people, whether you’re competing in the Olympics or running for the first time in the park, my mantra is, if you can get people achieving and get them fit and healthy then that’s what matters.
What does the future hold?
I have taken up Slalom Sailing which is a brand new challenge for me. The sport is technically and physically demanding. Turning corners in Slalom Sailing is like going round in a velodrome on a bicycle - which gives you an idea of how difficult it is. At the moment, I don’t think I’m very good but the aim is to sail at world level, so keep your eyes peeled.
In my osteopathic career, I will continue to provide osteopathy in collaboration with other practitioners and to share the importance of collaborating with other practitioners and will continue to pursue my special interest in sports and sports injuries.
Lastly, as a proud alumnus and having worked at the BSO for so long, I hope to see the BSO continue to be at the forefront of international osteopathy in future years.
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