Josh Meekings has taken a big step in building his life after football by getting a job as a sports massage therapist in Inverness.
Former Caley Thistle defender Meekings gained a diploma in sports massage therapy during lockdown last year and has started working at Physio Inverness.
The company is owned by Fiona Houston, who worked as a physio with the Caley Jags when Meekings was there. She has also worked with Ross County, Scotland women’s football teams and Highland RFC.
Meekings recently returned to the north of Scotland, where he spent six years during his professional football career. His partner hails from the Highland capital and the 28-year-old has moved into part-time football with Brora Rangers.
Great to be back in the highlands, looking forward to the seasons ahead with this ambitious club! 👏🏼😁 https://t.co/x1GbytN9OF
— Josh Meekings (@JoshMeekings92) June 13, 2021
Meekings said: “I spoke to Fiona a few months ago and messaged her again once I was up here. I came in to have a chat and said I had my sports massage diploma and asked if that was something that would be of interest.
“I’m grateful she’s given me the opportunity to come in. I know the demands and stresses you put on your body (as an athlete) – you need to look after it.
“It’s a completely different avenue for me. It can be all kinds of athletes coming to you; they can all benefit from it because it promotes recovery so well.
“It can help people with demanding jobs or with hobbies that are physical. These are things I have got an interest in.”
Also on the team is David MacFadyen, who was a physio at Caley Thistle and most recently worked at Celtic before joining at the end of last year.
Meekings feels it was the right time to transition from a career as a full-time professional, after more than a decade as a footballer with Ipswich Town, Inverness and Dundee.
The move back to the Highlands was motivated by family reasons and the deal with Brora allowed him to still fulfil his football goals alongside his working life.
Meekings added: “I had come to the realisation that I was happy to make the transition.
“Finishing full-time football early, I’m getting a head-start on the other side of life, what people would call the real world.
“I fully understand people think football is glamorous. There are perks – you’re doing what you dreamed of as a kid. This is just a little bit more relaxed.
“I can help people through the clinic and play football with Brora, and be as successful as I can.”
Houston has been heartened by how enthusiastic Meekings has been since starting on Thursday and hopes it can be the start of a fruitful partnership.
She said: “I think he’s enjoying something different. He’s applying his training and working with like-minded people. He’s had a few clients booked in already and he’s fitting in well.
“When I put the post on LinkedIn, Scot Gardiner (Caley Thistle CEO) commented on it saying it was a great signing!
“Josh trusts both myself and David – there’s a respect from us looking after him when he was playing. It’s just a slightly different role within that.
“The kids will love having him around. He’s played at a high level – he’s almost a wee celeb at the clinic but it’s great for him and his confidence.
“We didn’t have a sports masseuse and I thought he would really compliment what we are doing here.”