Posted: Sat 4th Apr 2020

Student with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia tells how Glyndwr course rekindled football coaching dream for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Apr 4th, 2020

A football coach has spoke of how studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University has helped her to deal with serious ill health.

Laura Davies, 24, from Chirk was a keen footballer as a child and played for the Wrexham Girls Academy until the age of 14 when she diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia.

She was told that she could no longer participate in physical activities.

“I started playing football at a really young age, when I was a kid, I was always outside playing football. I had such a passion for the sport, I used to play on the boys team in primary school,” Laura explained.

“When I was younger all I ever wanted to be was an athlete so that was a major blow. I spent a couple of years in and out of being bedridden and struggled to deal with my new life.”

Laura is now part of the coaching team at TNS Under 16 Girls, helping the youngsters win the Shropshire Futsal League and they will represent Wales at the Gallini World Cup in Italy, taking on the likes of Juventus and AC Milan.

She also coaches the newly-formed Wrexham County U15 Girls team alongside Paul Samson, and last summer started a group for women with little or no footballing experience to have fun while learning the basics of the game.

Laura – a Foundation Year student on the Football Coaching and Performance Specialist degree at Glyndŵr – has received treatment from a CFS specialist since she was 17, and is full of praise for the course and how it has affected her life.

“The course has helped me step outside my comfort zone. I felt like I lost control of my illness a little and was giving into it, but now I feel like I’ve got motivation and ambition and I’m starting to feel like my old self again,” she said.

“I have things to look forward to now, like the Wales Women’s team training session earlier this month, coaching outside of uni, coaching courses with the uni and hopefully next year some football analysing too.

“So this course has 100 per cent helped me, it gets hard at times when you have to have time off and you have no idea when the symptoms are going it ease off enough to go back but were working on ways around that and the lecturers and tutors on the course are amazing help and so supportive.

“I feel this degree has allowed me to find that part of myself again and allows me to participate in a different way, in the sport I love so much,” she added.

“I have enjoyed every second on my course. I never understood how complex coaching could be, all the little details and work that goes into a session behind the scenes was eye-opening, I never realised how deep it goes.

“My tutors Chris Hughes and Sara Hilton are amazing and supportive, they are with you every step of the way.

“I am constantly learning new skills on my course, whether it be from lecturers, students or researching.

“It’s teaching me the building blocks to understanding how to be a good and efficient coach. You can take something away from every lecture and assignment.

More about Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s BSC Football Coaching and Performance Specialist, can be found here.

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