"The first week of my project included a trip to the West Ham FC Training Ground, in Chadwell Heath. Ahmad and I met Professor Sharma (Prof) at the ground, before meeting with his cardiology team of St George's University Hospital. We also had the privilege of meeting some of his medical students, who were able to give us insight into the application process for universities, while also telling us, personally, how life at university is. While the cardiology staff set up the ground's medical room with equipment used for measuring the ECGs (electrocardiograms) and echocardiograms of the players, Prof along with his staff briefed us on what we would be doing through the day. We were told the process used to connect the players up to the ECG machines - where exactly to place the electrodes on the body of the player. The doctors working with Prof showed us how to analyse echocardiograms of the players and how to record certain measurements such as aortic size and the hearts muscular wall's thickness. Soon after, we had the fortune to meet the reserve players and the first team players to measure their ECGs and record their echocardiograms. Through the day, we continued with this process, alternating between roles. At times, we would have to take personal details of the players, and ask them to sign the suitable consent forms. At the end of the day, we had met each player of West Ham, including manager Sam Allardyce, and were able to have friendly conversations with them. Ahmad and I had each brought a football which we were able to get signed by each of the players, which was the highlight of our day.
In general the whole experience was very enjoyable as being football fans, meeting the players was an exciting opportunity. Along with having a fun time, we were able to learn a lot, with ECGs and echocardiograms being new to us. Our research project is based on comparing the heart rate of a professional athlete with an ordinary non-athletic person. In addition, we will be comparing the heart rates of the players of West Ham, with the heart rates of players of perhaps Tottenham Hotspur or even Manchester City. Other factors the project may look into investigating are if race, age and fitness have any effect on the performance of the players hearts.
In terms of minuses, I must admit I have yet to report on any so far. The project has been intriguing and engaging for us. We hope soon we can visit another club to record some more data for our project. Prof has kept the results and data but with his permission, we can use it to tailor our projects. Of course, the project will not include the names of the players, due to the players confidentiality agreements."