Sports students help Vale defender fight back from injury

"As a student aspiring to be involved in men's professional football, particularly the prehab and rehab aspects, this was an important experience for myself."

Alex Hill, BSc (hons) Sports Strength and Conditioning

Strength and Conditioning students at Staffordshire University have been helping an injured Port Vale FC footballer on his road to recovery.

Kjell Knops ruptured a ligament in his knee playing for the club last April. He was due to return from the injury at Christmas but was set back after suffering an infection in his knee following surgery.

Knops is now on the mend after having a repeat operation and is starting to return to training. He recently visited Staffordshire University’s specialist sports labs, along with the first team physiotherapist, to undergo a series of muscle strength tests.

The testing was led by lecturers Dean Burt and Phil Walker and assisted by first year BSc (Hons) Sports Strength and Conditioning students.

Dean Burt, Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, explained: “Tests were performed on both Kjell's injured and non-injured leg. The aim was to test Kjell's quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength to assess for muscle imbalances following his injury.”

Student Alex Hill said: “As a student aspiring to be involved in men's professional football, particularly the prehab and rehab aspects, this was an important experience for myself. Hearing first-hand how the injury occurred, the setbacks encountered, and the road to recovery was eye-opening.

“Being involved with a professional footballer and PVFC has been greatly beneficial for both my course and my personal development. Footballers are human like everyone else at the end of the day.”

The results of the tests are now being used by the team physiotherapist to design a programme of strength training as Knop steps up his rehabilitation and returns to full training, hoping to earn a new contract with the team.

Phil Walker, Course Leader for Strength and Conditioning, added: “The visit provided the Strength and Conditioning students the opportunity to work with a professional footballer and witness at first hand the feats of strength elite football players can produce in a laboratory environment. We wish Kjell all the very best in the next stage of his rehabilitation and hope to see him in a Port Vale shirt soon.”

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