Physiotherapist (musculoskeletal / sports)
Lennox Head Physiotherapy Centre
Family: wife Samantha, daughters Mai (7) and Abby (4)
Star sign: Leo
Favourite food: Thai
Although Simon Prior started life in Newcastle, his family moved to Grafton when he was young and he grew up there. His father was a town planner, and regional manager of town planning for the North Coast of New South Wales.
During his childhood, Simon’s father undertook two job exchanges in the UK and these took the family abroad for a year each time. For Simon it meant new school and new friends, but he says he took it in his stride. In fact, perhaps it set him up for the nomadic life he was to lead in later life.
At 15 he received a full (academic and sports) scholarship to The Kings School in Sydney where he boarded and excelled in several sports.
He was state record holder in swimming, played soccer in the Australian titles and competed at the State level in athletics. After school he took a gap year and went back to the UK and was offered a place in a premier league soccer youth academy.
On his return to Australia he enrolled in a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science and followed that up with a physiotherapy degree. (In 2013 also completed his Masters and published a research paper).
Simon’s wife also worked in the sports profession, and it was her role working for the International Canoe Federation in Switzerland that took the couple overseas. There Simon made the professional connections that led to a job in the rehab department at the Aspetar Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Hospital in Qatar.
‘It was interesting living in Qatar where their social and gender attitudes differ to us. Both our girls were born there and we had to choose a hospital that would allow me to attend the births,’ he says.
After 5 years in Qatar Simon reached a point where he suddenly wanted to come home.
‘One night I just sat down and sent several emails to physiotherapy practices in the Northern Rivers asking if they would consider selling. Sally (Petrie) actually got back to me very quickly saying the timing was wrong for her, but she may be interested in a few months.
‘True to her word, she contacted me several months later and we began negotiations for the purchase of the business, which was finalised in October 2013.’
Since buying the Lennox Head Physiotherapy Centre Simon has immersed himself in the local community. He provides voluntary professional services to the Trojans and the Lennox Head Football Club.
‘On home game days for both clubs I am there for pre-game warm ups and strapping, plus some on field assessment. During the season on Monday nights I offer my services to the Trojans – one hour injury assessment for players carrying injuries. Tuesday nights I coach the senior goal keepers for LHFC Sharks and last year I also coached the junior Sharks and sponsored them.
Simon also takes his demonstration skeleton across to the preschool once every year where he gives the kids a talk about bones. And he gives talks at all the local clubs.
What’s the best thing about your job? Helping people. It’s awesome when someone comes in and they can’t even stand and then the next time I see them they are walking without their stick.
Worst thing? Not being able to help some people. Some injuries and complaints are chronic.
Hobbies? Fitness, music, I love Bluesfest.
Work Life philosophy? Look after your health and fitness and do something that you love.