"Most foreign students come to UK just for a foreign degree that could be helpful for the future career. It turned out that MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine course brought me some valuable abilities that lead me to a better life and interesting experience. I came to Nottingham in 2002, most of my course mates were medical doctors and physiotherapists. In addition, I joined the university volleyball team. Through many opportunities to have group discussion in MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine course, my student life in Nottingham was actually an important foundation for my ability of social skill and negotiation in international sport society over the past 5 years.
The most useful knowledge I have obtained from MSc course was the Exercise Physiology and Biochemistry component. As a physiotherapist, I was confident with the Orthopaedics part of the course, but like other course mates, I was also confused why I had to study 'muscle metabolism' as I thought I might not use it in the rest of my life anyway. However, when I started to have communication with sports coaches, I started to realise that what I have been taught about exercise physiology and biochemistry in the MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine course could actually explain the sport training theory and plan. The knowledge I have learned from MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine allowed me to help a sport team for developing training strategies, coaching education, and coordinating all kinds of support for elite athletes. This is all about sports performance and injury prevention. That's also why I chose not to teach in the medical university, I chose to teach in the graduate institute of coaching science in a sport university. In this department, most of my students are sports coaches, I could "change their mind" and explain to them how their wrong training strategy or technique lead to sports injury.
After I completed my PhD in Nottingham, I was invited to join Taiwan track and field team based in a training camp in Berlin for half year before 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. I observed the training, competitions and had so many conversations with the athletes and coaches in the training camp. I was sent to a 10 days seminar of track and field as an interpreter for a group of Taiwanese national coaches. In the seminar I quickly understood that everything I learned from MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine course was to build up ideas in my mind about injury prevention. There is never just "overtraining" but always "wrong training strategy" that leads to sports injuries. As a medical staff, I need to know more about how an athlete actually got injured. The value of being a team medical staff with a degree in sports medicine is to be able to work with a sport coach for a better training environment, that includes training strategy, facilities, medical support, scientific support, nutrition strategy, travel plan...etc, it's not just medical treatment.
Another advantage of studying in Britain was to learn the ability of being able to manage a project/task independently and 'always be fully prepared before visiting the boss'. That means I always come up with a plan first, try to complete some work, find out what the difficulty is, and come up with a solution before asking someone to take time to talk to me.
If someone from a medical background is interested in starting a good adventure in sport, I would recommend her/him to take MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine in Nottingham, but it is not an easy master programme."
Dr James Shih-Chung Cheng (MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine, 2002-2003)
Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Institute of Athletics and Coaching Science, National Taiwan Sport University
General Secretary of Asia Association of Coaching Science
General Secretary of Taiwan Sports Coach Association
Deputy General Secretary of Chinese Taipei Athletics Association