Inspired Staff - Why I got into sport

"I became fascinated by athletic injury"

"As a young child, I always had an interest in pursuing a career in sport and exercise. I was a keen footballer, motocross athlete, and Ju-Jitsu specialist as a teenager. I decided to study an undergraduate degree in Science and as this course developed I became fascinated by athletic injury, more specifically the psychology of injury. I had sustained a medial ligament injury myself in a Ju-Jitsu competition and when studying how stress can impact on athletic injury onset and how athletes can respond psychologically to being injured and requiring rehabilitation I could see how my experience was linked to the theory and models that I was studying. This led me on to postgraduate study and into both teaching and applied practice in the area of Psychology.”

Natalie Walker, Head of Department for Sport and Exercise

"Great satisfaction in watching an athlete achieve their goals"

"I’ve always been interested in sport from an early age and vividly remember watching Linford Christie win the Gold medal in the men’s 100m at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Little did I know that 20 years later I’d have the opportunity to work as part of the anti-doping team at the Olympic Games in London 2012! As a registered sport and exercise nutritionist, I have been fortunate to provide nutrition support to a variety of elite athletes and teams and gain a great deal of personal satisfaction from helping an athlete achieve their goals. The discipline of sport and exercise nutrition is very contemporary and it’s very exciting to work and study on the cutting-edge of science to help influence future practice."

Matthew Cole, Course Leader for Sport and Exercise Nutrition

"I always preferred learning by doing"

"Personally, I always preferred learning by doing. I enjoyed practical subjects where was applied into practice. When I first found my interest in , I initially envisaged myself as a sports coach, so I completed the necessary qualifications and coached for three years. However, I decided I needed more challenge and went further with my academic qualifications. I completed a PGCE and went on to teach P.E at both primary and secondary level. 

The way in which the degree I lead has been written allows you to gain experience of both coaching and teaching, meaning you can make a well-informed career decision at the end of your three-year programme. Good luck and I look forward to seeing you in September."

Irfan Khawaja, Course Leader for Physical Education and School Sport

"I combined my interest in human anatomy, injury and sport"

"As a young child, I always had an interest in pursuing a medical career. I was fascinated by injury and illness, and as a keen swimmer and cricketer growing up, I developed Osgood-Schlatter's disease – a common condition in teenagers involved in high levels of activity and sport. While becoming inquisitive of the condition and human skeletal anatomy, I also became intrigued by the medical staff that would run on the field of play and assist injured athletes. So, I decided to combine my interest in human anatomy, injury and illness, with that of sport, and decided a career in the Sports Medicine environment was for me." 

Peter Thain, Course Leader for Sports Therapy

"I transferred my passion for science into coaching others"

"I recently joined the team at Birmingham City University after nine years of managing a Strength and Conditioning Science degree in London, and prior to this, four years of lecturing in a further education College. As participated in a range of sports and competed to middle-distance running. As always enjoyed reading and learning about the training methodologies and practices which elite athletes adopt and tried to apply them to my own training. Although I aspired to become a professional athlete after university, injury prevented me reaching my full potential. However, I quickly transferred my enthusiasm and passion for science into coaching and teaching others. Suffering a succession of injuries as a runner, and later as a provided me with the motivation to help other athletes achieve their goals and avoid the mistakes I made. Over the last 12  I have since provided strength and conditioning coaching support to athletes across a wide range of sports, including several who represented Team GB at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I have also written a book on ‘Strength and Conditioning for Endurance Running’ and was previously a Director of the UK Strength and Conditioning Association."

Richard Blagrove, Course Leader for Sport and Exercise Science