A sporting chance

Leanne Creighton always loved sport. Studying the theory behind it for A-levels was a revelation.

I was always interested in PE, but studying sports science for my A-levels were the best two years for me, in terms of how involved I got in the subject. My two teachers were really good, and I learned so much from them. My knowledge of the subject increased so much.

Unlike sport I’d done before in school, which was very practical, this was all based in the classroom. I come from the Isle of Wight and the school I was at didn’t have many facilities for games, so there was very little practical. I felt that helped my understanding of the subject — we really got into everything to do with sport: anatomy, physiology, sociology, psychology, everything. When we went out and put it into practice as much as we could, what we’d learned in the classroom made it much more interesting, because we really understood what was happening.

I enjoyed the psychology of sport — it’s to do with leadership, sportsmanship, your whole mental attitude when you’re playing sport - but I preferred looking at what happened to the body while it was playing sport. I suppose I have quite a sciencey mind. I did my degree in sport and exercise science with the thought that I’d perhaps do a PGCE or some research, like I did for my dissertation. I looked at how mouthguards affect breathing in female rugby players, using blood tests and measuring carbon dioxide levels. I was always quite sporty. I played netball at regional level when I was at school. When I got to university, I played women’s rugby, which was hilarious — I wouldn’t do that now! But having studied it brings an added dimension to playing sport, and to watching it. I’ve just been elected to do this job for one more year. People joke that I can’t leave university, but it’s not like that — I don’t live the student lifestyle at all! I don’t know what I’ll do next. A PGCE is still in my mind; I just know I don’t want to be stuck behind a desk.

•Leanne Creighton is vice-president of communications and administration at Leeds Metropolitan University — The Guardian