Sport and Health Sciences at Brighton

Sam in a Manchester City kit

Physio working at the top of his game

Physio Sam Blanchard is working at the top of his game at one of the world’s biggest football clubs.

Sam credits his learning experience at Brighton in helping him achieve his professional achievements and job at Manchester City Football Club.

We caught up with him to find out more about his professional journey so far, lifelong bonds made whilst studying with us and how he applies the critical thinking skills he learned at the university to his work.

Brighton set me on my professional journey

“My role is Academy Physiotherapists (Under 9-23) and involves managing injuries and monitor growth related disorders across a professional football academy in developing athletes.

“I credit my learning experiences at Brighton for all of my professional achievements. As a very green 18 year old with no academic ambition, the lecturers taught me how to become a critical thinker, how to understand the benefits of research but understand the limitations and constraints to the academic vs practical world. Brighton taught me to question in a constructive way that I carry with me to this day.”

Critical thinking skills honed during degree

“I remember doing a research methods lecture with Dr Lucy Redhead that really changed how I critique research papers and as such, my critical thinking skills. The key takeaway from that was to skip the introduction of a paper and at the end, if you couldn’t grasp what they were trying to answer, there was something wrong with the premise or the conclusion.

“It’s made me understand a lot more about fallacies in critical thinking and ensuring the right premise is in place before building any conclusion. In my line of work as a physio now, if the testing we do is flawed, the chances are the diagnosis will be too.”

Making life-long connections

“One of my happiest takeaways from my time at Brighton is meeting people that to this day are the closest friends I could wish for. In fact, a friend I met in 2005 was the best man at my wedding in 2023.

“He was sat next to me on the first day of class as an undergraduate physio, he was hungover and hadn’t done the pre-assignment work so copied mine. To this day he hasn’t repaid that favour!

“We became housemates in our second and third year and a group of six us are still very close friends to this day.”

How my degree opened doors

“My degree has enabled me to work all over the world including Sri Lanka, America and the UK. When I was in Sri Lanka, I worked as a volunteer at a hospital working with amputees from the 2004 tsunami and at an orphanage with disabled children.

“In America I was head of rehabilitation for an Ice Hockey team, working with the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL and their development team, the Rochester Americans.

“I’m proud to have worked at the highest level of Football, Rugby Union, Ice Hockey and supported Cricket, Worlds Strongest Man and Skeleton Bob.

“Success to me is longevity in a discipline that you aspire to be part of. I started my degree with the hope of working in professional sport and I have done this for 13 years and counting.”

Inspiring the next generation of critical thinkers

“Question everything but be open to every answer. What we know now, we only think we know. Our understanding changes and at the same time research has limitations. Accept those limitations, extract what is useful to you by continuously asking ‘why?’.”

Learn how you can become an applied health professional with Brighton.

Kerry Burnett • 12/03/2024


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