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Undergraduate study

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Dan O'Brien

Dan works as a full-time football academy sports rehabilitator.

Dan O'Brien

BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science and MSc Sports Rehabilitation

Why Teesside?

I chose Teesside University because of the lecturers on my course and their expertise in my field of interest. The facilities at Teesside are amazing and so helpful for real-world learning – I’m working in professional football now and I’m using the same facilities and equipment that I used when on campus.

Why did you choose to study in this field?

Since a school work experience placement in Middlesbrough Football Club’s medical department I have really wanted to work in professional football. My experience made me realise that there are so many careers in sport – you can work as a performance coach, sports scientist, physiotherapist, sports rehabilitator or a strength and conditioning coach. All of these jobs are essential to the football industry and the combined work of these sporting professionals make footballers play better.

What did you like about your course and why?

I liked the way that my lecturers built relationships with each student. I always felt supported and was given lots of specialist guidance. My tutors directed me to a range of resources, videos and journals to help me learn the skills I needed to get into my field of interest.

I really enjoyed the module on clinical assessment and rehabilitation as it got me thinking in a deeper way about sports injuries, what injured professionals are lacking and how to help them to achieve their goals. I learnt how to support individuals to reach their potential, work pain-free and perform in an elite sporting environment.

Did you take part in any placements or projects during your studies at Teesside??

Yes. Middlesbrough has a lot to offer in terms of placements. I was lucky and was placed at Middlesbrough Football Club to shadow their sporting departments. There are a number of non-league clubs across the North East which are excellent places to practice your theoretical skills. If you get out there and experience as much as possible you won’t be as surprised when you start working in the industry.

When the Team GB volleyball team came to the North East I helped out one of the University’s lecturers with some research on pre-activation and the impact of this on sporting performance.

Do you have a job?

I’m working at Forest Green Rovers Football Club as a full-time academy sports rehabilitator.

What skills and experience did you gain at Teesside that are helping you in your chosen career?

I gained the ability to be confident in a team and voice my opinions and concerns – backing my views up with knowledge and experience. I gained the professional skills and expertise I need to perform in my job. And I learnt how to be a good researcher – in my role I’m always doing CPD and new sport injury research is always emerging so it’s important to be able to digest journals and absorb and learn from this information.

What are your future ambitions?

My goal is to gain as much experience as possible so I can go on to work for a premiership football club, either in the first team or leading the sports science and medical department.

What advice would you offer students thinking of coming to study here?

Listen to the lecturers, do your pre-reading before you attend each lecture, ask for extra information and use your down-time to enhance your knowledge and do your own research. People who do this are the people that professional clubs want. Once you make it into a professional club the lifestyle and perks are amazing.

Would you recommend Teesside University?

Yes – it’s amazing and it offers so much. I did a BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science and this combined with my MSc has made it possible for me to do the job I am doing, and the knowledge I gained at University makes my job so much easier.