From the pitches and pools to the lecture theatre

The athletes who turned to academia

In order to develop to elite level, talented athletes require support not only in their sport, but also in other domains such as education. In fact, more and more elite level athletes are choosing a dual career path by combining an athletic with an academic career.

Since the first PhD in Applied Science and Football based at Everton Football Club in the 1970s, LJMU has worked consistently in bringing sport science to the game via The Football Exchange. This offers match analysis and education, working with many high profile clubs and football governing bodies. Many professional footballers also choose to study at LJMU either alongside their career or afterwards. 

This includes Chris McCready, a former professional at Crewe Alexandra, Tranmere and Morecambe whose transition away from professional football included an undergraduate in Science and Football BSc followed by an MPhil focusing on identity formation, and levels of personal development, found within elite youth footballers. This has included working with elite footballers in off-season football conditioning endorsed by the Professional Footballers' Association.

Chris commented on his choice to go into academia:

"I was worried about the time it might take away from my career, but it had the opposite effect and I felt that I played my best football whilst studying. It allowed me to switch focus and develop myself, not the footballer. My advice to all players is to go for it, now. It will help to develop you as a person and a player."

Chris was also part of the LJMU Sports Scholar programme. Current and former LJMU Sports Scholar students have been successful in winning medals in a number of major international competitions.

David McDermott, Sports Scholarship Manager explains the programme,

"The scheme supports the athletes in three main areas which include bursaries, lifestyle management program that is driven by a mentoring system that helps athletes with academic flexibility when necessary and excellent sport science support that has a positive impact on their performance. The support services are key for the sport scholars to be able to balance their sport and academics and reach their full potential in both areas."

Former Great British Gymnast and Sport Scholar Hannah Clowes is studying for a PhD in Sport Psychology after completing a BSc and MSc at LJMU.

"I chose to study at LJMU as it was highly ranked for sport science and had outstanding facilities.  I could also continue training at my gymnastics club in Liverpool and LJMU offered a great scholarship programme.  My studies have allowed me to explore the different areas of sport science and develop my passion towards a career in sport psychology. . My advanced knowledge has allowed to me to apply a much broader perspective and approach to my work as a gymnastics coach now and I feel that this, along with continued development, will be beneficial to become a well-rounded, educated coach in the future."

Craig Langley, was awarded a scholarship for swimming while studying Mechanical and Marine Engineering. He commented:

 "The scholarship has been a benefit to both my university and swimming performance. Communication between myself, lectures and mentors was excellent so all parties involved are aware of my commitments and adapted either studies or training to ensure the best possible result all round. With a great course being offered alongside fantastic gym facilities, nutrition advice and physiotherapy, LJMU was my first choice university."

 Postgraduate courses at LJMU

 Sports Scholarships at LJMU 



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