A FOOTBALL coach from Chirk has told how studying at Wrexham Glyndwr University helps her deal with serious ill health.

Laura Davies, 24, was a keen footballer as a child and played for the Wrexham Girls Academy until the age of 14, when she was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fribomyalgia, and told she could no longer participate in physical activities.

Playing football and being outside was a huge part of her life and she admitted she struggled to adapt, but believes the course at Glyndwr has been a huge support.

“I had such a passion for the sport, I used to play on the boys team in primary school,” she said.

“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 – 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," she said.

"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.

“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.

She added: “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.

“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.

“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.”

To find out more about the course, visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk/en/Undergraduatecourses/FootballCoachingandthePerformanceSpecialist/