When John Francis was in his final, crucial year at university, he became dramatically ill following an expedition to Ecuador two years earlier.
John was working at a Worcester Warriors rugby match, where he had been completing a two-year performance analysis internship, when he collapsed, delaying the start of the game as he was setting up his filming equipment.
“I had been feeling absolutely fine all day and the next thing I knew I was being lifted down from a scaffolding tower on top of the stadium by the local fire crew and ambulance service,” he said.
Following his admittance to Worcestershire Royal Hospital, John consequently spent a week receiving treatment at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London. Throughout this time he persevered with his university studies and completed his dissertation.
During his degree, John had specialised in sports performance analysis completing work with a range of sports clubs and teams including Worcester Warriors Rugby Club, England Women’s Rugby and the England Institute of Sport.
John recently presented his final year dissertation at the World Congress of Performance Analysis of Sport, which was held at the University, and is now currently writing a book chapter for the conference proceedings.
John set-up ‘Worcester Sports Performance Consultancy’ in 2011, with the help of a European Development Fund and resources from the University of Worcester Business School, which he continues to successfully run today.
John graduates today from the University of Worcester with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Coaching Science. He graduates alongside his girlfriend Miriam Gee, who also achieved a First in PE and Sports Studies. They met in the first year at the University.
“It’s great to be able to graduate together,” John said. “I’ve had a fantastic three years at Worcester with some excellent opportunities.”
John, who hails from Maidstone in Kent, is now studying for a Master degree in Sports Coaching and Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education at Worcester, with the aim of becoming a university lecturer.
Meanwhile, Miriam is studying a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in PE with the aim of becoming a secondary school teacher.