UWTSD student and intern Leif Thobroe sets up kickboxing society at the University


A UWTSD student who lost the use of his right arm after a rugby accident turned to kickboxing to get his life back on track.

Leif Thobroe, from Swansea, used the martial art as a form of rehabilitation after the accident in 2015. He has now qualified as an assistant coach and has set up a new kickboxing society at UWTSD.

Leif profile picture

Leif said: “I have been kickboxing for nearly five years and after my accident in 2015, kickboxing was my own form of rehabilitation. It got me back onto my feet faster than I could have imagined.

“Eight months after losing the use of my right arm, I competed in the WOMAA British Championships in November 2015 and won a British title in an advanced category, fighting against able bodied fighters. Then I went on to win a silver medal in the European championships. After starting my MBA course in September 2015 at UWTSD, I decided I wanted to set up a kickboxing society, allowing students of all abilities to come and have a go. “We have now got a world champion kickboxing instructor taking the class on a Friday from 6pm to 7pm in the Townhill Campus Sports Hall and a multiple time kickboxing champion taking the class on a Sunday in the Townhill Campus from 4 to 5pm. I am currently captain of the UWTSD Kickboxing society and I will be training and helping to take the classes on both days. I have recently become a qualified assistant kickboxing instructor as well. I also train with Swansea University Students, who also have their own kickboxing society. They have kindly asked us to join them for social events and in the future hopefully we can compete against each other, if UWTSD have enough students wanting to compete.” Back in March, Leif,who is also the University’s new Enterprise and Creative Bubble Intern, met The Duke of Cambridge at an event organised by the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust (WRCT) at the Principality Stadium.

Prince William, who is vice royal patron of the Welsh Rugby Union and patron of the WRCT, held a reception for 11 injured players and their families prior to the Wales v France game that month.

The trust has been financially supporting Leif, since his accident, as he studies a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) course at Swansea Business School at UWTSD.

Established in 1972, the charitable trust supports players who have been severely injured whilst playing rugby union in Wales.

As well as offering practical support, the trust also provides pastoral care and social opportunities for the former players and their families – including supporting Leif financially, enabling him to study for a Masters degree.

During the celebrations to note Lampeter as the birthplace of Welsh rugby held earlier this year, UWTSD raised £1,000 for the WRCT during the evening dinner which concluded the day’s events. 

Members of the teaching staff at Swansea Business School are very proud of Leif and are extremely encouraging as he studies for this highly respected qualification.

“As a sports enthusiast, Leif clearly tries to put to good use the skills he’s learnt both as a player and coach to motivate and help his peers,” said Jayne Williams, one of Leif’s lecturers.

“Approachable and generous with his time, he is always keen to see what he can do to help the people around him whether that’s in a learning situation or ensuring everyone is included in social events. Fun-loving and with a good sense of humour, Leif is a popular member of the MBA group,” she continues.

The MBA that Leif is studying at Swansea Business School is an internationally respected general management qualification, which enhances the skills and competences of experienced managers, but also provides a launch into a management career for more recent graduates.

The Masters in Business Administration helps improve students’ potential to manage and lead organisations effectively through the development of abilities, knowledge and understanding of a wide range of management skills, ideas and theories.  The programme is designed for students from a wide variety of backgrounds who are seeking international career opportunities through the development of their managerial abilities.