Ex-professional footballer Fabrice Muamba and Shrewsbury Town captain Adam El-Abd have been at Thomas Telford School this week.
The pair have been delivering sessions as part of their work towards getting a coaching licence from UEFA, the official governing body of European football.
Muamba retired from football after going into cardiac arrest in an FA Cup game while playing for Bolton Wanderers at Tottenham Hotspur in 2012.
His heart stopped for 78 minutes, and he had to be brought back to life by medics and surgeons. He isn’t the only high-profile sportsman to suffer major heart problems.
England cricketer James Taylor, who used to play in Shrewsbury, was forced to retire after he was diagnosed with a defective heart.
And Spurs coach, former Villa player Ego Ehiogu, tragically died on the training ground after collapsing with a cardiac arrest in April.
Both Muamba and Taylor now have devices inplanted in their chests that will restart their hearts if they stop again. And Muamba spoke of the desire to live life to the full after expressing his shock at Ehiogu’s death last month.
The former Arsenal and Birmingham City player looked back on top form when he coached Thomas Telford sixth form students through a match on Wednesday.
The 29 year old former midfielder keeps fit and although he was never able to return to the professional ranks, he is now learning the ropes as a coach.
He heaped praise on the young footballers at the school and said he was in good shape. He said: “Physically I feel good.” Speaking about his future, he added: “Obviously I want to get the qualification first which is the most important thing and the next thing is trying to find an opportunity elsewhere, if there is anything that would help me to improve my skills as a coach, and get on it really.”
El-Abd, who plays as a defender for Shrewsbury, said it had been a pleasure to work with students at the school.
The 32-year-old said: “We are doing this as part of the course we are doing. Thomas Telford have been very welcoming.
“The kids have been brilliant to work with. Coming here to work with these kids who are so enthusiastic is really good. I’ve learned a lot.
“Each day we’ve been doing something different.”
David Howells, head of PE, said the school had a good reputation in the game and the sessions delivered by the professionals would help to boost students’ aspirations.
He said: “They came in and used our students because of the ability of the players and links we have got. It’s nice that they feel our players are good enough in ability for them to coach.
“It’s emphasising what we’ve been doing with them as staff.
“It’s nice to get it from professional footballers that we are doing the right thing.
“The students play in the English schools national cup and won three national cups this year.” He said the students had been excited about getting involved in the coaching sessions and had been keen to listen and pick up tips.
Mr Howells added: “They have been getting on really well. The coaches have been really good.
“The students have been listening to them and taking it on board.
“The football season is finished but it gives them the buzz to think about next year and developing their skills.
“Fabrice Muamba is a bit of an England legend. The students are in awe of those faces that they have seen on the television.
“Some of the students still have an aspiration to make it in the professional game of football.
“This sort of thing gives them the belief they need.”