David Cooper

David Cooper

Clinic Owner/Principal Physiotherapist, Kinetics Physiotherapy
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy
Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy)

A physiotherapist’s ability to help people get back to doing what they love is inspiring, says David Cooper who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy), followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy.

“I enjoyed the level to which AUT staff are engaged and passionate about physiotherapy – all in their own unique way. I was actively involved as a research ‘test dummy’ a number of times and it was inspiring to be around people who were continuing to challenge what we know. I really enjoyed the connections I made with my classmates and with staff. Many of these colleagues are still close friends today.”

Being able to complete workplace experience as part of his AUT degree was one of the highlights of his studies.

“I think where it all started to come together was on the clinical placements that are part of the Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy). At that point I started to see how the theory could be applied to actually help people. Seeing this in a variety of environments also helped me figure out what I would eventually see myself doing in my professional career.”

Countless career highlights
After graduating from AUT in 2008, David has worked in private practice and is the owner of Kinetics Physiotherapy. In 2021 Kinetics expanded to a second clinic at AUT Millennium, the national Olympic training centre and home of High Performance Sport NZ. Further expansion in 2022 occurred when David relocated his clinic on the Hibiscus Coast into new premises with a custom fit-out.

“Our clinics are dedicated to musculoskeletal physiotherapy and focus on injury diagnosis, management and treatment. The other two ‘arms’ of our clinics focus on orthopaedic surgical rehabilitation and youth injuries. There is a team of 12 clinicians across the two sites who are dedicated to improving the standards of our profession.

“I have clinical time at each location in addition to one day each week consulting with orthopaedic surgeons. The remainder of my week is focused on the growth, strategy and direction of the business. With this comes the enjoyment of supporting the development of our staff, from new grads all the way up. We’re also now able to provide placement experiences for undergraduate students in two high-level clinics.”

He has had countless highlights throughout his career so far, says David who thoroughly enjoys all parts of his job and constantly explores new ways to help his clients.

“I’ve been privileged to have worked alongside a number of high-level sporting organisations including the New Zealand Breakers, Athletics New Zealand, Triathlon Canada and Triathlon USA. This has included national and international travel alongside teams where I have been able to meet some of my sporting heroes.

“More recently I’ve also been involved in the growth and development of our profession. I have recently been made Chair of the Physiotherapy Advisory Board alongside AUT, district health boards and private practice representatives. I’ve also enjoyed presenting at a number of seminars and was asked to be a part of a Youth Sport Think Tank to help improve how youth sport is delivered in New Zealand.”

Advice for other students
David’s advice for other students is simple – get involved.

“The real learning happens outside of your comfort zone. There are so many great opportunities to learn, grow and develop, and so many health professionals enjoy being involved in that journey.”

Physiotherapy is full of new possibilities, adds David who has a background as an elite athlete and was initially attracted to physiotherapy by the prospect of working with other sportspeople.

“You should always be eager to challenge the status quo because there are so many more undiscovered opportunities for our profession.”

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