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Physio Joel’s fresh approach to get athletes fighting fit

September 29, 2021

Gold Coast physiotherapist Joel Nucum works with his clients at the CMBT Training Centre in Varsity Lakes

A Gold Coast physiotherapist has taken the unique step of basing his business from a combat sport centre to help give athletes a winning edge over their rivals.

Joel Nucum set up Nucum Physio in the CMBT Training Centre in Varsity Lakes, offering general physiotherapy services, while also working with combat athletes to enable them to maximise their potential. 

“Some people I see for a longer duration so we can understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, and their signature almost, as a fighting style.

“We can see them through training or before the fight and then we prep them. Physiotherapy the way I practice, is unique in the way it’s decision-making as well, I’m someone you can ask for advice, you can question everything and have a plan for everything,” Mr Nucum said.

He said he was able to optimise any element of a fighter’s approach –  including their body, their stance, and how they wanted to address their opponent.

“Any worries with performance, I’m there. You can wear multiple hats. It’s almost like you’re a therapist, a manager, a coach, all at the same time.”

Mr Nucum, who hails from Guam, completed his Doctor of Physiotherapy at Bond University, having earlier studied kinesiology at California State University.

He said his time at Bond helped steer him towards taking an unconventional approach to his business.

“I think Bond helped me think outside the box, having my undergraduate and that kinesiology and exercise science background, I wanted to make my own version of practising that incorporates rehabilitation, across the spectrum to high-performance and anywhere in between.” 

Even now, Mr Nucum’s connection with Bond University remains strong.

As well as working as head physiotherapist for the university’s senior men’s rugby team, Mr Nucum recently agreed to work alongside a Bond student researching mental toughness as part of her PhD studies.

The student is herself a combat athlete, and came to Mr Nucum to help rehabilitate a knee injury.

But whether working with a performance athlete or a member of the general public, Mr Nucum’s approach is based around addressing the underlying causes of pain and injury.

“The main thing is really thinking about the person, it depends on that person’s story and what they want to achieve out of their health. Not just thinking of what their symptoms are, but addressing the causation is my bread and butter.

“A lot of people think about short term gains and easing symptoms, whereas I’m looking for people’s foundations, not thinking of just the next six weeks, but the years ahead of them.

“It’s a holistic approach of applying yourself, if you’re mentally tough, you’re physically tough, if you’re prepared, you work smart and hard, you can achieve everything.”