Sheffield student’s perfect career prepares for blast-off

Andrew Winnard, space physiotherapist.
Andrew Winnard, space physiotherapist.
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SHEFFIELD physiotherapist Andrew Winnard career is lifting off – and promises to be simply out of this world.

The 27-year-old Hallam University masters student is exploring the final frontiers of his calling – by combining his skills with the world of space exploration.

As part of his studies, Andrew landed a post as an intern with the exercise team at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany.

He worked on a project which looked at ways of assessing how the walking patterns of astronauts changed after long periods in orbit.

Andrew found himself working closely with medical teams drawn from around the world who prepare astronauts for space missions to the International Space Station – rehabilitating them on their return.

After many months spent floating in zero gravity, astronauts often suffer postural muscle and bone weakness, both of which require extensive physiotherapy to correct.

Andrew, orginally from Chesterfield, found the work was ideal subject matter for a module he needed for his advanced masters degree.

He said: “I have always been interested in space flight and when choosing to study physiotherapy I was advised to try and combine my hobbies and interests with my career.

“It’s taken hard work, determination and lots of support from the university but I’m proof that if you have a passion you can achieve it.”

Andrew is now part of a team developing an exercise device that may be used in the rehabilitation of European astronauts. He is now considering taking a PhD to enable him to contribute further to space medical research.