In summary

  • Olympian and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Tyson Bull is completing his Master of Physiotherapy with Swinburne
  • He shares how the knowledge from his degree is helping him understand his body better, as an elite gymnast
  • Using technology and receiving support to study flexibly means Tyson can apply his learning to his career, every day

Olympian and Swinburne University of Technology physiotherapy student Tyson Bull has been the talk of the town since bringing home a silver medal from this year’s Commonwealth Games.

Through a heart-warming series of events and sacrifices from his teammates, the 29-year-old won silver in his signature event, high bar, while battling an ankle injury.

Tyson is in the second year of a Master of Physiotherapy at Swinburne and has been applying his learning to becoming a better athlete. 

Learning into action

Having already worked with some of the best physiotherapists in Australia, Tyson was attracted to physiotherapy for its problem solving – along with a good word or two about a new degree starting up at Swinburne.

“Problem solving is at the core of diagnosing and treating a health issue and I feel the same can be applied to gymnastics,” Tyson says.

“A lot of the time there’s no right way to execute a skill, so you need to work out the best way for the individual.”

Being a new program, Tyson felt his master’s degree with Swinburne was going to offer a very progressive learning experience enriched with technological learning opportunities.

“From using mobile cameras in the treatment lab to learning anatomy with virtual reality and digital cadavers, the technology I’ve been using at Swinburne has aided my learning incredibly,” says Tyson.

His studies cross over significantly with his daily training, but he says the degree is giving him heightened awareness of his body and managing physical workloads. 

Tyson Bull with Swinburne physio classmates and staff

For example, his growing knowledge of load management has made him more sensitive to how his body is coping with training at different times while preparing for competition. With spikes in load being the most common cause of injuries, Tyson uses the knowledge gained from his degree to manage this more carefully.

“I have a better understanding of mechanisms of injury and rehabilitation, and so my coursework has certainly heightened the importance around proper rehab, prehab and load management amongst other things.

Learning from Amir Takla through Swinburne’s Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program at Australian Sports Physio has also been a great insight into private practice and treating sports-related injuries,” says Tyson.

The best of both worlds

When asked how he successfully juggles a global sporting career while completing a university degree and a job, Tyson credits the course convenors at Swinburne for their flexibility and support.

Whether it is granting extensions on assignments or helping him catch up on classes, Tyson says it takes a team to make all his competing demands work.

What’s next?

In addition to managing his term-four coursework, Tyson is also preparing for World Championships at the end of October.  This will be his first major world event since the Tokyo Olympics. 

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