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Ex-pro footballer to graduate as physiotherapist from PFA funded programme

Tom Wilkinson, an ex-professional footballer and the first Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) funded student to complete a BHSc Physiotherapy degree at York St John University, will graduate this week with a 2:1 honours degree from the University.

Tom, aged 25, is the first York St John student to receive full funding from the PFA after the University successfully rolled out the scheme with the PFA three years ago. York St John University is one of only a handful of universities which receives funding from the PFA. The PFA fund five ex professional or academy players every year through their studies at York St John in a bid to help them accomplish an alternate career as a physiotherapist.

Tom’s professional football career began at Lincoln City football club in 2006, but was cut short prematurely due to a persistent knee injury. After receiving physiotherapy himself as a result of his injury, Tom looked to pursue a career within the profession. He received guidance on achieving this from Pat Lally, Director of Education within the PFA Education Team, who set up the agreement with York St John University.

Reflecting on his experience at York St John, Tom said:

“I have had the time of my life at York St John University. As a small close-knit community students get plenty of support for both practical and written work. Placements are varied to ensure each student gains the essential skills in the key areas of physiotherapy.”

He added:

“I hope to get back into football at some point, but in the meantime I am enjoying my career as a physiotherapist in hospital.”

Jill Wickham, Continuing Professional Development Coordinator at York St John said:

“The PFA partnership adds diversity to the undergraduate population. Although from a football background the students are encouraged to see physiotherapy as a wide and varied profession. Tom discovered his interest to be with people receiving treatment in the acute hospital setting and achieved this goal.”

Tom now lives back in his hometown of Lincoln and is a physiotherapist at Lincoln county hospital for the United Lincolnshire hospitals NHS trust.

For further information please contact Amy Hall, PR & Communications Officer on T: 01904 876466 or E: a.hall@yorksj.ac.uk