Did you know there was a physiotherapy clinic on campus? According to Niels Berrevoets, a therapist working at the clinic since September, many students are still unaware of the fact that it’s there.
Good Dutch health care
About twelve people visit the clinic on an average day. Sports-related injuries are most common, but staff members also come to them with complaints caused by office work. Niels explains that most of their patients are students, and only about five percent of them are internationals. However, he thinks it is important that they know the clinic is there, in case they have any complaints or injuries: ‘The health care system in the Netherlands is generally quite good, maybe even better than a lot of other countries.’
So why don’t internationals visit the clinic? First of all, Niels thinks that many students, both Dutch and international, are not aware of the fact that it exists. A second issue that applies to internationals is the fact that they are not properly insured and therefore have to pay for physiotherapy themselves: ‘It is important for internationals to check if their insurance covers more than the basics when they move to the Netherlands. Even if you fall off your bike and break a leg, basic insurance will not cover this.’ According to Niels, Dutch students are generally very well insured, which covers the first ten treatments they receive.
Take some rest
When should a person visit a physiotherapist? Niels tells us that if you get injured in a sports activity, you should wait about a week: ‘Take some rest, but not too much. Continue walking and biking, as your body also needs movement to heal.’ He recommends students to visit a therapist if complaints do not go away after one or two weeks, or when injured body parts get very swollen. The clinic is always open for questions or consults, so a one-time visit for some advice is also an option.
Last of all: any advice? Niels recommends beginners to be extra careful, and to build up their training schedule gradually. Advanced sportsmen and women have to listen to their bodies, and act upon complaints that come back repeatedly. He also says rugby and basketball are known to be ‘risky’ sports: ‘Especially rugby players are a bit stubborn and only come to us when they’ve been walking around with an injury for a long time already.’ IS