October 2022

Man Utd psychologist to Royal Ballet physio: meet the lineup for 2022 sports conference

By Melanie Hall

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From a psychologist for top-flight footballers to injury specialists for elite ballet dancers and rugby players, guest speakers at this year’s University College Birmingham sports conference will have delegates on the edge of their seats. 

Open to the University’s current and former students, the wider sports industry and anyone with an interest, the Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Conference (SPARC) 2022 will be welcoming six top professionals to share their insight at the city centre Moss House campus on Monday 24 October.

These are Dr John Fernandeslecturer in sport and exercise sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University; Daniel Ransom, who provides sports psychology support at Manchester United FC; Nico Kolokythas, a consultant for Birmingham Royal Ballet; Troy Douglin, who works for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC; Freja Petrie, whose specialist subject is mild traumatic brain injury in female rugby union players; and Dr Lisa Hyland, a member of Team Wales' medical team at the Commonwealth Games.

"Get stuck into the nitty-gritty of sports performance and rehabilitation, gain insight into the latest research and practice, and hear incredible stories"

Mark Godwin Interim Deputy Dean (Strategy, Recruitment and Innovation), School of Health, Sport and Food

Now in its fourth year, the popular event links nationally and internationally-leading research to applied practice, offering the chance to hear leaders in the dynamic and ever-changing world of elite sport performance and rehabilitation. 

Professor Mark Godwin, Interim Deputy Dean (Strategy, Recruitment and Innovation) at the University’s School of Health, Sport and Food, said the conference was the chance to hear from the very best in their field, covering sports psychology, exercise physiology, biomechanics and physiotherapy.

“Students, alumni and other delegates will be able to get stuck into the nitty-gritty of sports performance and rehabilitation, gain insight into the latest research and practice, and hear incredible stories, all within our fantastic sports facilities that include our cutting-edge Human Performance Centre,” said Mark.  

“Crucially, it is also the chance for them to network and make contacts with specialists from the industry. 

“The conference builds on our involvement in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and hosting Team Scotland this summer, where students and lecturers got to provide sports therapy for the team, supporting elite athletes with pre-event preparation and post-event recovery.” 

SPARC 2022: Our expert lineup

Dr John Fernandes

Dr John Fernandes

A lecturer in sport and exercise sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University, John has published a range of articles in this field, including topics covering team selection in national youth basketball players, sled training loads in soccer players, ageing and recovery after resistance-exercise-induced muscle damage and strength and power characteristics in elite rugby league players. 

Daniel Ransom

Daniel Ransom

Daniel provides sports psychology support to players, parents and academy staff in professional football, works with coaches to support the development of psychological skills and qualities, and is currently conducting academic research into how environment influences development of young performers. Daniel has also worked with senior coaches and players in Premiership Rugby Union. 

Nico Kolokythas

Nico Kolokythas

With over 20 years’ experience in the athletic development of the adolescent in elite performance, Nico has a PhD in injuries and the adolescent ballet dancer and also works as a consultant for Birmingham Royal Ballet. A regular writer/contributor for One Dance UK’s magazine, Nico is a visiting lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and Bern University. 

Troy Douglin

Troy Douglin

An advanced practice physiotherapist who specialises in sports injuries, Troy is completing a National Institute of Health Research Internship in Digital Health Implementation and postgraduate certificate in Healthcare Data and Informatics at the University of Cambridge. Currently working for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and University of Wolverhampton, he also worked for the England FA, Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy and Wasps. 

Freja Petrie

Freja Petrie

Freja is a PhD student from Swansea University, specialising in mild traumatic brain injury in female rugby union players. Her mixed-methods PhD uses instrumented mouthguards and neck strength testing to investigate head impact mechanisms in women’s rugby. Delegates will be able to learn about gender differences in head injuries in rugby union through a qualitative study of concussion experiences in players.  

Lisa Hyland

Dr Lisa Hyland

Committed to making physical activity accessible for all and passionate about preventative healthcare, Lisa is a final year registrar in sports and exercise medicine working at the Birmingham Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and Shropshire Orthopaedic Outreach Service. She provides matchday cover to Aston Villa Women's FC and was part of Team Wales' medical team at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Tickets for SPARC 2022

SPARC 2022 will run from 9:30am to 4pm on 24 October. Tickets are available via Eventbrite and range from £25-£75, to include refreshments and a buffet lunch. To take advantage of hearing from the best at this exclusive event, click here

Are you interested in a career in sport? Discover our full range of college, undergraduate and postgraduate courses within our Department of Sport and Nutrition. 

Students who demonstrate outstanding sporting performance and potential can apply for our Sporting Excellence Scholarship scheme, which provides a range of benefits including funding and use of our cutting-edge sports facilities. Find out more here. 

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SPARC 2022

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