University student helps prepare Luton Town FC for promotion final


A PhD student at the University of Bedfordshire is celebrating a successful season working with Luton Town Football Club, which has seen the club promoted to the Premier League for the first time in its history.

Jake Scott, who is studying in his final year of his PhD with the School of Sport Science and Physical Activity (SSPA), works part-time as a Sports Science Assistant at the club, who were victorious against Coventry City at Wembley Stadium last month and claimed a coveted spot in the top-flight of English football.

Jake’s expertise was required on the day of Luton’s Championship Play-Off final, which saw temperatures soaring higher than average for the time of year. This meant the Sports Science team needed to ensure the players were as prepared as possible for environment they were going to face, including implementing a number of cooling techniques and strategies.

Speaking about his role, Jake said: “To be able to apply my practices and evidence-based research to elite athletes while travelling up and down the country has made be grow and develop tremendously as a practitioner and person this season. It has been great seeing the hard work pay off, which is a credit to the players and the staff who exude humility, desire and hunger to better themselves every day.

“This team is something special, and I’m glad I could play my part. It feels amazing to be amongst the country’s elite and we thoroughly deserve to be in the Premier League next season. Onwards and upwards – come on you Hatters!”

Jake started his role at Luton Town FC in September 2022 and his day-to-day responsibilities include supplementing the Sport Science team with nutritional and hydration strategies for the players, generating individual physical performance plans, and the monitoring of external and internal training and match load throughout the Hatters’ successful 2022/23 campaign.

Alongside all of this, Jake has been completing his PhD studies with Bedfordshire, where he is in the final year of summarising his research on the effects of practical cooling strategies for team sport athletes in hot environments. Last year, Jake undertook specific research on this topic, using the University’s state-of-the-art Human Performance Centre, ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which saw temperatures reaching as high as 27 degrees Celsius during matches.

Ahead of his current PhD studies, Jake also completed his undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science with Bedfordshire, graduating in 2020.

The University has a long-standing partnership with Luton Town and are currently the club’s official Academy sponsor. Alongside this, there are opportunities for SSPA students to get involved in work experience with the club.

Dr Martyn Morris, Head of the School of Sport Science and Physical Activity, added: “Our relationship with Luton Town is well aligned to a number of our courses, including Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, Sport Science, and Strength and Conditioning, and has been invaluable for our students and graduates gaining that experience alongside their degree.

“This year, Jake took up a part time role in the Sport Science team and ended up on the bench at Wembley! Hopefully this will continue next season in the Premier League and help to fulfil Jake’s aim of forging a career in professional football.”

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