Sports Injuries Research

Sports Injuries Research Group

The Sports Injuries Research Group comprises a blend of sports therapy and sports science practitioner-researchers with common themes in injury prevention and management.  With access to excellent laboratory and clinical spaces, but also armed with a wealth of practical experience, the team strive to take their skills to the player – providing real world solutions.

Embedding sports science within the sports therapy competencies provides the team with a niche in being able to cater for all aspects of the injury process, to include epidemiology, aetiology, and interventions.  The team is well published across sports medicine journals, and retains a range of vocational experiences across a range of sports.  We put no restrictions on sport, gender, age, or playing ability.

There follows a sample of on-going research projects.  For more information on any of the following, or in relation to developing a new strand of research, please contact Dr Matt Greig (matt.greig@edgehill.ac.uk)

Screening & Profiling in Elite Female Soccer Players

Kristian Weaver and Dr Matt Greig drive a research program with a specific focus in elite female soccer players.  This population is vastly under-resourced in comparison to the men’s game, and female players present a unique injury profile.  By developing and validating a battery of screening tests for players, we are able to investigate those markers that might help us predict those players at risk of a certain type of injury.  The impact of injury on the player is multi-faceted, and specifically in young players this can have huge impact on their development.  By better understanding those markers which might highlight a player at risk, we can more effectively develop individualised interventions.  We aim to develop normative data for elite female players, so as to enable other clubs to evaluate their own players.  We also hope to identify those key makers in working toward injury prevention.

Furthermore, Kristian is investigating the multifactorial nature of being a female athlete in relation to sport, competition level, demographics and socio-economic status to further inform clinical practice and the holistic assessment of the female athlete.

Functional Movement Screening & Dance

Ross Armstrong has a wealth of experience as a chartered physiotherapist, having worked at a number of elite multi-sporting events including the Rio games!  This experience has led to Ross embarking on a series of research projects which investigate the potential for movement screening to help predict injury.  This work has been applied to elite male youth soccer, and also more recently to comparing sports such as rugby, netball, and dance.  Joint mobility is a related factor which Ross has specialised in, highlighting the prevalence of hypermobility in dancers.  Is flexibility a good thing?  Can too much be a bad thing?  By applying scientific rigour in the profiling of athletes across different sports, Ross is developing normative data upon which to compare the influence of sporting exposure.  A specific interest in dance with elite performers is a niche area we aim to develop further.

Fatigue as an Aetiological Marker

Dr Matt Greig, Dr Chris Brogden and Dr Richard Page have an established research profile in the influence of fatigue as an aetiological marker for injury.  In soccer it is consistently reported that most injuries occur in the last 15mins.  We have developed various simulations which allow us to replicate the demands of match-play in a safe environment.  We can use these models to investigate how a player responds to fatigue, but also to evaluate return-to-play criteria following injury.  We have also used these models to investigate the influence of fixture congestion on injury risk, and to evaluate different intervention strategies.  This research continues to be published in leading sports medicine journals, and is supported by excellent laboratory provision.

GPS Analysis in Injury Screening

GPS technology is increasingly used in elite sport to monitor performance metrics such as distance covered, number of sprints, etc.  In addition to these performance markers, we have developed innovative means of investigating injury risk by applying mechanical principles to the acceleration data.  Dr Matt Greig has presented injury case studies from elite soccer and cricket which highlight the relevance of this data in injury screening.  Dr Richard Page and Dr Chris Brogden have embedded GPS analyses within their research into the physical response to intermittent team sports.  We have used this same technology to investigate the influence of playing surface on injury risk, this being a hugely contentious issue with the evolution of artificial turfs.  This research has also been extended to consider the applications of GPS technology in dance and in the combat sports, most notably boxing.

Sports Therapy Pedagogy

Lynsey Wilson and John McMcCeadie are sports therapists and thus work closely with the Society of Sports Therapists in developing this profession.  Graduate sports therapists acquire a licence to practice, and thus the quality of our graduating students is of paramount importance.  Our students complete in excess of 200 hours of clinical practice, within our own sports injury clinic and across a myriad of external placements including elite sport.  By investigating the experiences of our students on clinical placements, we aim to enhance the quality of our graduating sports therapists.  This research is driven by epidemiological principles in developing an injury and experiential audit, but is also fundamental to our teaching philosophy.

The Efficacy of Kinesiology Tape

In recent years the use of kinesiology tape to manage or prevent injuries has become increasingly visible.  You might have seen an Olympic athlete or Premier League footballer with coloured tape strategically placed?  This kinesiology tape is widely and commercially available, but does it work or is it simply a perceived benefit.  If it does work, why does it work and what is the best way to use it?  Claire Farquharson, Dr Chris Brogden & Dr Matt Greig have conducted a series of research studies investigating the effectiveness of kinesiology tape.  Claire Farquharson has also investigated the use of this product by runners in the London Marathon: why do they use it, did it work?  Our laboratory and clinical facilities enable us to understand the benefits of this taping intervention, and also how best to apply it.  We recently provided guidelines on how long prior to performance an athlete should apply this tape.

Sports Shoe Design & Clinical Gait Analysis

Of the various factors that might help to prevent injury, surely your choice of sports shoe is one of the easiest for you the athlete to influence.  Sports shoes are designed to enhance performance and help to prevent injury, but consider the range of sports and the varying demands.  Dr Ben Langley conducts research into sports shoe design, assessing the properties of a shoe in relation to the athlete’s needs.  The correct choice of footwear has been shown to have a huge influence on injury prevention, and truly is a modifiable factor in injury prevention.  Gait analyses in a sporting context require an understanding of both clinical biomechanics and sports science application.   This is a multi-million pound industry, and Ben’s work in sports shoe design provides the team with a real specialism.  Further application in clinical gait analysis expands our sphere of influence into the health & exercise domain.  John McCreadie adds a clinical and sports injury specialism in this topic, and particularly in the use of orthotic aids in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

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