“A kick to help people”

By on December 30, 2017
Erik Ardelius

He has gone from full NHL arenas to healing broken tendons, from professional life on hockey skates to a bodily inspirer. Mikael Renberg, physiotherapist at the Capio Artro Clinic at Sophiahemmet, tells us how an injury led him to a career where learning never ends.

It was not the times on the ice that took him here. What made Mikael Renberg in the middle of a career with World Cup Gold and Stanley Cup finals with Philadelphia Flyers, already thinking about another career in his 20s, is spelled John Worley. He was Michael’s athletic trainer, a mix of personal trainer and physiotherapist.

– When you are suddenly treated individually and almost a little coddled you get close to each other. John Worley was kind, straight and honest, says Mikael Renberg.

All the time with the team on the ice was talking hockey. So also in the locker room, during lunches and on trips. The coaches discussed playbacks and power play. When Mikael Renberg was injured, he received his first role model as a physiotherapist.

– With him I could talk about anything but hockey and somewhere there, my interest in becoming a physiotherapist was raised.

Wanted to go further
After the hockey career, Mikael Renberg had a vacant year at Piteå, but felt he needed to move on. He took his grades, went to a student counselor and said “I want to be a physiotherapist. What is required?”. At the next course, Mikael Renberg was enrolled in the three-year undergraduate education at Luleå Technical University.

Now it is eight years since the ice hockey career ended, but still the traces of his hockey life are seen. From the nose back and down, across the lip, and further down the chin glimpses the scars from the 200 stitches. It had only lasted seven seconds of the groundbreaking match against Ottawa in NHL when Mikael Renberg “got a skate like a punch in the face”. In the booth, security John Worley was ready with a white towel. Before they started sewing, the towel had completely changed color.

– He sewed and sewed and sewed. In the end I asked if we were not ready soon. He just said “we are on third base” then we went to the hospital where they had to sew complete.

Mikael Renberg has always enjoyed the medical team, including the physicians and the physical coaches. And with age he has become more and more interested in anatomy and physiology.

In addition to the injury he has two brain shakes, a rupture of the abdominal wall, an injury in the clavicle joint, many types of groin problems, wrinkles in the forearm, ribs and wrists. Many hours of rehab it has become. Experiences that are important in the role of physiotherapist. But he has also taken on the understanding of how it is to practice.

– I know what it means to jump max jump on one leg. If you have been trained at high level, you know what training means and that is an advantage. Then you have to mix that knowledge and experience with the learning of damage. There I still get information from books and eavesdrop – and look at how colleagues do.

A place for new career
He appreciates his colleagues at the Capio Artro Clinic. Both as conversation partners around the morning coffee and as colleagues to learn from.

– There is no better place to start your physiotherapist career. It’s like getting into NHL the first thing you do as hockey players and getting to know right from the best.

To the Capio Artro Clinic at Sophiahemmet, patients of all kinds will come. Nowadays, uses the clinic triage when patients seek care. This means that patients seeking help can meet Mikael Renberg, or any other physiotherapist, directly for an assessment before meeting a doctor.

– I think it can relieve the physicians so much that they do not have to meet all patients at first. With many injuries you can start training for two, three months and then move on to a doctor if it does not get any better. And if the damage gets good then it’s clear.

Mikael Renberg does not need to work any more in his life. What he has saved from the hockey season is enough and is over. But life is more than money.

– It’s about having colleagues, to have something to wake up for that you enjoy, something that’s fun. Then it may be difficult for some morning to get up early to meet a patient at half past eight. But it gives me a kick to be able to help people.

Text: Erik Ardelius

Helena Olofsson, Training & Health | Stockholm