Students urged prepare for change – you never know when

Bobby Copping visited Thomas Clarkson Academy

Bobby Copping visited Thomas Clarkson Academy - Credit: TCA

A former professional footballer who was forced to retire at the age of just 19 told students at a Wisbech academy how important education has been in his life. 

Bobby Copping visited Thomas Clarkson Academy where he told pupils about the end to his professional football career after a head injury saw his life change overnight. 

A former player for Peterborough United, Bobby now leads his own charitable foundation alongside his work as chief executive officer of Peterborough’s women’s team and coaching within the club’s academy. 

His life changed in a moment when he headed a ball in training with his club and ended up in hospital after he suffered a mini seizure, lost his sight and sensation on one side of his body. 

He hoped that it was a one-off and returned to the game he loved - but the very same thing happened and, just as his career was starting, his dreams came crashing down around him in the summer of 2020. 

But the disappointment is behind him and Bobby is forging a successful career within sport and has his own charity, the Bobby Copping Foundation, established to help others facing the same issue. 

His visit to the academy had a literacy focus and he told students in Year 8 that his education, exams and subsequent qualifications were a vital part of rebuilding his life. 

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“I think education is really important and it has been vital for me,” he said. 

“If you want to be a professional footballer, and you make it to an academy then of the 300 or more in that academy, there may only be one who makes it through. And then it can all change overnight as it did for me.” 

Students heard how his studies went alongside his sport and now he is graduating with a masters this summer from the Sports Institute of Barcelona as his career off the pitch moves on. 

“You just never know when things are going to change for you and education gives you something extra,” he said. 

 
English teacher Phoebe Bellfield arranged the visit said Bobby said: “It’s really important our students know how things can change and what a difference education can make.”