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Professor Martin Roderick


Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences
Fellow of the Institute for Medical Humanities
Fellow of the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing


Martin is the current Head of the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences. He is a sociologist and spent his early career in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester before moving to Durham University in 2004. He completed his Ph.D. examining the careers of professional footballers in 2003, which was subsequently published as a book in 2006, The work of professional football: A labour of love? This early research was motivated by a desire to improve the working conditions for all professional athletes, a desire that remains a driving force behind his ongoing research ambitions. Martin has maintained his longstanding research interests connected with the problems associated with work and careers in professional sport, but his more recent focus has concerned the inter-connections among family life, issues of work-life balance, and mental health.

Martin has undertaken research for various sporting organisations including the Professional Footballers’ Association, The Football Association, The Football Foundation and the Racing Foundation. He was recently awarded funding by the British Academy for a project examining the complexity of the public and private lives of professional athletes, illuminating how a public sporting figure status can gradually contaminate the ‘private’ person.

Martin serves on the Editorial Board for Qualitative Research into Sport, Exercise and Health.

Research Interests
  • Professional athletes’ lived experiences
  • Work, identity and wellbeing
  • Space, place and mental health
PhD Students

Martin welcomes applications from potential PhD students interested in (i) the work and careers of professional and elite athletes, with a particular focus on how athlete lifestyles can impact on mental health; (ii) celebrity and its impact on the working lives of athletes; and (iii) issues of risk, pain and injury in sport and physical activity, something about which he has a longstanding academic interest. 


Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

Supervision students