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Professional footballers graduate as physiotherapists

Wednesday 19 July 2017

The University of Salford wouldn’t have a bad 7-a-side team, after a group of professional footballers have qualified as physiotherapists from the University.

The footballers, including former QPR player Rob Hulse and current Stockport County player Jason Oswell, will now be able to work in the industry thanks to a partnership between the University and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA).

Rob, who now plans to get a physiotherapy role in the NHS, said: “Studying physiotherapy was the natural route for me to go down after I retired. 

The support from the lecturers at Salford and from the PFA has been fantastic.”The players, graduating at today’s (July 19) ceremony, have all completed the BSC (Hons) Physiotherapy (part time) course thanks to substantial funding from their union the PFA.

Loss of self 

Rob and Jason, who both also played for Crewe Alexandra, praised the partnership between the University and the PFA for the work they do supporting footballers finding a new career.

Rob, aged 37, said:  “When you’re a footballer, your mind is only focused on the next game, so you’re in a bubble.“It is so important for footballers to think about the next step. 

Studies have shown that some footballers can experience a loss of self when they eventually retire from the game, so courses like this at Salford University are a brilliant way to forge an alternative career.”

Jason Oswell, aged 24, who also graduated in physiotherapy, will now begin a job at the Countess of Chester hospital, where he worked as an assistant alongside his studies. 

Just signed

Jason carried out several placements as part of his course, including helping children with neurological conditions in Uganda.

He said: “I have honestly enjoyed every moment of the course. It's definitely been a challenge, especially when I had been out of education for a few years. It was also a great class to be involved with, we had a lot of fun.“

And of course, being with the PFA lads and having a similar background to them made the transition much easier. I have an exciting year ahead with football also as I have just signed for Stockport county football club. 

I can't wait to get started with both.”The other footballers who graduated at Salford’s Lowry arts centre include former Manchester City player Stephen Jordan, Tranmere Rovers player Charlie Barnett, Walsall player Joe Edwards, Wigan Athletic’s Sean Myler and Northampton Town goalkeeper Alex O’Reilly.

Excellent results

The BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy course is accredited by the Charted Institution of Physiotherapists, and offers students the opportunity to go on industry placements to boost their opportunities for employment.

Previous graduates from the part time physiotherapy route have included ex Nottingham Forrest player John Thompson, who now works as a sports physiotherapist within the NHS.  

Oshor Williams, PFA Assistant Director of Education, from the PFA, said: “The excellent results achieved by our members are a reflection of the quality of teaching and support provided by the university throughout the 4 year programme.  

"We are delighted that our partnership with the University of Salford continues to yield such positive outcomes in terms of achievement and progression into employment year on year.”

Notes to editors:To watch a video to find out more about the University of Salford’s partnership with the PFA, see here