Special Olympics volunteering inspires County Derry student

Oisín Campbell volunteered with Magherafelt Marvels while completing his Extended Sports Diploma.

Special Olympics volunteering inspires County Derry student

Oisín Campbell.

A County Derry student says volunteering with his local Special Olympics club has inspired him to puruse a career in sports psychology.

Oisín Campbell achieved a triple distinction in Level 3 Extended Sports Diploma at Northern Regional College’s Magherafelt campus, the equilvalent of three A*s at A-Level.

Next month, he will be begin to study Sports Psychology at Liverpool John Moore's University, with the long-term goal of helping special needs athletes prepare mentally and phsyically for sport.

“The College teams up with local sporting organisations, giving us the option of volunteering with them,” said Oisín, who plays Gaelic Football for St Martin's GAC in Desertmartin.

“This gives me the opportunity to work with some fantastic groups, including Magherafelt Marvels Special Olympics Clubs and Peace Players which promotes diversity through sport.

“The practical sessions could sometimes push you out of your comfort zone which was always a good learning experience.”

Oisín's was awarded the Inspirational Student of the Year award at the end of his first year at the College and while lockdown put sport on hold, he continued to volunteer with Magherafelt Marvels.

“Volunteering with the Special Olypmics has given me greater confidence in my own ability and reinforced the importance of giving clear instructions and listering to others,” he said.

“We kept in touch and posted home videos on Facebook so the athletes could continue their training at home during the lockdown.”

Bronagh O'Neill, Sports lecturer at Northern Regional College, said she was delighted with Oisín's success.

“Oisin was a pleasure to have in the class and the accolade ‘Inspirational Student of the Year’ was so well deserved,” she said.

“He was quite shy when he started the course, so it was great to watch him progress and grow in confidence.

“He really benefited from volunteering with the Magherafelt Marvels but they have also benefited from his expertise and enthusiasm. I wish him every success at university and in his future career.“

Northern Regional College offers a range of full-time and part-time Sports courses. More information and details of how to apply can be found on their website –

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