The Tokyo 2020 Olympic games draw to an end this Sunday. To mark the occasion we caught up with Samantha Cook, who is a highly specialist critical care physiotherapist based at St Bartholomew’s Hospital and a professional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete.
Sam, who was redeployed to The Royal London Hospital during the second Covid-19 wave, shares her experience of balancing a busy NHS career, alongside being a very successful athlete.
“Juggling an athletic career alongside a full time physiotherapy career is no easy task!
“The challenges of making sure my diet, training and sleep are on point brings out the best and worst in me.
“There are times when I am so organised I wonder who this person is, to the other end of the spectrum where I am lucky if I remember my training kit on my way to work, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
“It is part of my personality to always be working towards the next goal, these include being the world champion at Black Belt and submitting a successful PhD application. Some people would argue ‘jack of all trades - master of none’ but, let’s not forget the full quote ‘jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one’.
“Having a competitive athletic career, alongside my work career, has probably enabled me to achieve more by balancing my mental health.
“When work becomes challenging and I feel overwhelmed, there is no better cure then to roll around on the mats.
“Jiu jitsu is almost like active meditation, I don’t have time to think about work, or life troubles or anything else for that matter. Mostly I am just trying to survive for 10 minutes and not get submitted.
“Once the training is finished, I take a deep breath in and feel ready to face the challenges of the next day - after dinner and a great sleep.”