Sports Therapy students get hands-on with England rugby legend at Velo

May 2019

Sports students at University College Birmingham had the chance to put their therapy training into practice at a major cycling event - and even got hands-on with an English sporting legend.

A team of 12 students on UCB's BSc Sports Therapy course hosted a post-event massage service for riders taking part in Velo Birmingham and Midlands.

The event saw thousands of cyclists take on either a 42-mile or 100-mile course around the Midlands, with UCB students providing massages for the finishers at Birmingham's Council House in Victoria Square.

And among the first cyclists to meet the team was former England rugby union captain and 2003 Rugby World Cup winner Martin Johnson, who received treatment from first year student Bianca Zarughevici.

Lecturer Marie Woodward, who supported the students alongside fellow staff members David Anderson and Becky Moore, said: "Bianca is a first year student and I think this was her first event, so it was a baptism of fire for her!

"Martin and his team were all brilliant and were very friendly, chatting away with staff and students alike.

"It was lovely to work with this great group of staff and students. They did an amazing job and worked hard all day providing post-event massage."

Sports Therapy students at UCB offer a wide range of services which are available to members of the public, with Velo Birmingham and Midlands one of a number of sporting events in which the University is involved to help students gain valuable experience working with real clients.

"We have a huge amount of experience supporting events and this is one of many that we are involved with across the country,” Marie explained. "However it's always special to be involved with a local event such as this and help the riders after their incredible journey where many thousands of pounds have been raised for charities.

"Velo Birmingham and Midlands is a great opportunity for students to get involved with a large number of individuals united in a common cause," she added. "It's always refreshing to meet people who have worked so hard and sacrificed much to participate in these events and the students gain a real understanding of what it is like to be a sports therapist."

It wasn't just the students getting involved in Velo Birmingham and Midlands though – a team of determined UCB staff also took part in the ride itself, cycling the 100-mile route to raise money for charity.

Sports Therapy lecturers Mark Godwin, Mark Newman, James Bateman, Gareth Bate and Marie Hutson completed the mammoth route in under 8 hours in support of Birmingham Children's Hospital Charity.

“I loved it, it was great!” said team member Gareth. “I didn’t do enough training, but the day was really comfortable and I’ve not been stiff at all!

“We looked at who was involved in the event and Birmingham Children’s Hospital is a good, local charity who we’ve worked with before. We’ve raised around £700 of sponsorship so far, which is fantastic.”

Donations can still be made in support of the team, who are hoping to raise £1,150 for the charity. To make a donation, please visit the team’s JustGiving page – all contributions will be greatly appreciated.

Find out more about our range of sports courses available at UCB here.

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