Oliver Leaper

oliver-leaperMSc Exercise and Sports Medicine (Football) 

"The majority of my classmates are also working in professional football, which helps with networking and learning from others' practise..."

Why did you choose to study at the University of Birmingham?

I live close to the University, but can often have a challenging work schedule (working in full time professional sport). After discussion with the University programme lead, I discovered that the flexible nature of the course, and the digital capture of all lecture sessions meant that I would be able to catch up/ continue with my studies if there was ever a lecture or session that I was not able to attend. The expertise within School, and the Universities reputation within current Physiotherapy and Sports Medicine research is another reason for choosing to study at the University of Birmingham.

What made your course at Birmingham stand out for you?

The collaboration of the University with the Football Association means that some lecture material and external speakers are more focused on Professional Football, a positive when working in this field.

The majority of my classmates are also working in professional football, which helps with networking and learning from others' practise.

How did you find living in Birmingham?

I have lived in Birmingham since 2006, when I moved to study my undergraduate physiotherapy degree at the University. I have lived in the area since, and have enjoyed the city as both a Student and a young professional. 

The transport links from the University and surrounding area are second to none. The University has its own railway station, meaning that travel to and from other parts of the country are incredibly convenient.

With the ongoing investment and redevelopment of the city, Birmingham is a great place to live!

How did you find the level of support you have from your lecturers?

The support from the lecturers is fantastic.

Studying a masters (especially part-time), can be challenging and time consuming. The academic staff are understanding, and very approachable. The university does encourage independent study, but staff are happy to discuss and guide further study if required.

When studying part-time the course can be completed over a number of years, with personal circumstances changing over this time.

The university staff are accommodating and supportive, allowing study to continue alongside challenging work schedules or unforeseen changes in external work load away from the University. 

What are you doing now, and how did your time at Birmingham help you in your current role?

I currently work as a Physiotherapist at Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club.

My ongoing postgraduate study has helped me throughout my career in professional football. The depth of knowledge I’ve gained and my ability to critique research has aided the development of my everyday practise.

The focus of the course on football medicine specifically has given me a greater understanding of a number of areas which are important in my everyday practise within professional sport (e.g Anti-doping, Cardiac Screening, psychosocial/player profiling).

What do you hope to go on to do in the future?

I hope to continue my postgraduate study in the future, adding to the current growing new high quality research, while continuing to work in professional football/ sport.

Any tips or words of wisdom that you would like to pass on to other students thinking of coming to study here?

Work hard, and don’t be afraid of what you don’t know! The University is a supportive environment, the academic staff are happy to help you answer any questions you may have throughout your studies.