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Sports Therapy students gain hands-on experience at home of England football teams

Sports Therapy students from University of Gloucestershire gained valuable insights around injury rehabilitation and support for elite athletes at the FA’s St George’s Park national football centre – home to all 23 of the England football teams.

As part of the BSc and MSc Sports Therapy full-time programmes within the University’s School of Natural, Social and Sports Sciences, students participated in the same data collection processes and operated the same equipment used to assess footballers such as England men’s and women’s captains Harry Kane and Leah Williamson.

Aligned with course modules, students gained specialist knowledge and experience around performance profiling, movement preparation, recovery gym sessions, speed workshops and hydrotherapy recovery.

Built in 2012 for £105 million in Staffordshire, St George’s Park includes a human performance laboratory, hydrotherapy suite, and a strength and conditioning gym, as well as 14 elite outdoor pitches, including an exact replica of the Wembley surface.

Merrick Jackson, a student on the MSc Sports Therapy programme, said: “The main emphasis was on how to make rehabilitation and recovery work fun and relevant to each individual athlete.

“It was a very informative day and set aspirations high for what we can achieve in future years as a graduate sports therapist.”

Kara Cooke, a student on the BSc Sports Therapy programme, said: “We enjoyed comparing our own fitness scores to top England men’s and women’s footballers so we could see how we measured up and also what scores they needed to participate in training or matches.”

Sarah Shaw, Academic Course Leader for BSc Sports Therapy, said: “We’re very grateful to the FA for allowing our students to visit St George’s Park and benefit from opportunities to use its state-of-the-art facilities and put their course knowledge into practice.

“The visit provided our students with a fantastic experience of Sports Therapy best practice being applied within an elite environment and a valuable insight into the work involved.”