Ex-student scores an own goal with new career

Ex-Darlington and Hartlepool goalkeeper, Andy Rafferty, quit saving shots to save lives as he retired to embark on training to become a paramedic.

Rafferty experienced a huge high for Dover in the FA Cup against Crystal Palace in 2015 but gave up football to train as a paramedic. In 2016, Andy enrolled on our Access to HE Health programme to have a shot at a new career. He commented:

“I fell out of love with football, I wanted to do a university course so decided to go part-time. I told the manager I wanted to concentrate on other things and it’s the best decision I’ve made. I missed the lads but didn’t miss playing.”

After completing our Access to HE programme, Rafferty progressed to study a two and a half year paramedic course in Ambleside in the Lake District. Andy is now six months into his new job and has had a baptism of fire due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said:

“The workload has hugely increased. At one job, a patient was gravely ill and we were blue-lighting him to Carlisle. It coincided with the Thursday ‘Clap for the NHS’. Everyone was applauding and cheering us. It was emotional as this patient was very poorly and we were trying to get him to hospital quickly. It sounds a cliche but I don’t do it for thanks. I never gave it much thought. We’re just doing what we’ve always done.”

It has been a testing start to the former lower-league keeper’s NHS career. Attending 999 calls for the North West Ambulance Service has been a steep learning curve during a national health emergency but Rafferty has firmly traded saving goals for saving lives.

Read more on The Sun.

Credit: Rex Features for action shot image.