ESA Astronaut Class 2022 – John McFall – John McFall was born on 25 April 1981 in Frimley, in the south of the United Kingdom – Education: John has a background in sports and exercise science. He completed his bachelor’s degree from Swansea University, UK, in 2004, and his master’s degree from University of Wales Institute in Cardiff, UK, in 2005. In 2014, John graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the Cardiff University School of Medicine, UK. He became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2016 and is currently a Trauma and Orthopaedic Specialist Registrar working in the south of England.
Following a motorcycle accident that resulted in the amputation of his right leg at the age of 19, John learned to run again. He became a professional track and field athlete in 2005, going on to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a Paralympic sprinter, class T42. Whilst an athlete John sat on UK Athletics Athlete Council where he was a voice for fellow athletes on the World Class Podium Programme. During his medical studies, John worked as a nursing assistant at the Marie Curie Hospice in Cardiff, UK, from 2009 to 2011. In 2012, alongside his medical studies, John became a mentor for the innovative Paralympic Inspiration Programme. This project, delivered by Paralympics GB, supported aspiring future Paralympians. He was also an ambassador and attaché for the International Paralympic Committee at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. From 2014 to 2016, John was a Foundation Doctor in the British National Health Service, working in a range of medical and surgical specialities in South East Wales, UK. Between 2016 and 2018, he completed Core Surgical Training covering General Surgery, Urology and Trauma and Orthopaedics in the Wessex deanery, UK. In 2018 John successfully secured a place on the UK’s national Trauma & Orthopaedic Specialist Registrar training programme and is currently studying for his Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) exams.
Honours and Awards.
During his time as professional athlete, John earned several awards, including; Paralympic Bronze Medal 100m at the Beijing Paralympic Games 2008; IWASF World Champion 100m and 200m, International Amputee and Wheelchair Sports Federation, 2007; Paralympic World Cup Champion 200m, and Silver Medallist 100m, International Paralympic Committee, 2007; World Silver Medallist 100m and bronze Medallist 200m, International Paralympic Committee, 2006; European Bronze Medallist 200m, International Paralympic Committee, 2005.
Outside of sport John was rewarded for his medical achievements, earning prizes in anatomy and dissection at Medical School. He was also awarded the John Charnley Trust Research Bursary; was Runner-up for Queen Alexandra Hospital Junior Doctor Awards 2018 for his leadership and became Old Millfieldian of the Year 2008.
ESA experience
In November 2022, John was selected to take part in the Parastronaut Feasibility Project to improve our understanding of, and overcome, the barriers space flight presents for astronauts with a physical disability.
John’s is married and has 3 children. His favourite sports are running and mountain biking, whilst his other interests include playing the guitar, travelling, carpentry and DIY.