Health Sciences

Dr Craig Duncan awarded ‘Sport Scientist of the Year’ award

Congratulations to Dr Craig Duncan, Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator in ACU’s School of Exercise Science and Master of High Performance Sport, who has been awarded the Exercise and Sport Science Australia's (ESSA) '2014 Sport Scientist of the Year' award. This is a prestigious national award and is great recognition of Craig's knowledge and expertise.

Dr Craig Duncan is one of Australia's leading Sport Scientists and is a passionate advocate for safe, professional, and ethical standards for all Sport Scientists. Dr Duncan's profile as an exceptional Sport Scientist is increasingly recognised by high-performance teams who are interested in a more holistic approach to their athletes. Dr Duncan emphasises to coaching and support staff the need to view their athletes as valuable assets that need to be managed via individualised programs to ensure maximum performance. Effective management involves appropriate and meaningful monitoring of training loads and markers of fatigue to ensure athletes are adequately prepared for competition. Appropriate preparation leads to increased success and lower injury rates.

As a result of this approach, Dr Duncan's services are keenly sought after by a number of National Rugby League teams, the NSW State of Origin team, the Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club and the National Football team - the Socceroos.

In 2014 alone, Dr Duncan has directly contributed to the success of the Western Sydney Wanderers FC in making the grand final of the A-League and winning the recent Asian Champions League, and to the successful NSW State of Origin team's performance. In particular, Dr Duncan's innovative use of sleep monitors with the NSW State of Origin team in the months leading up to the tri-series is an example of his holistic approach to player management.

He also featured prominently in the Socceroos preparation for the 2015 Asian Cup Championships, working with the national team as the head of sport science. The Australian team took out the 2015 AFC Asian Cup with a 2-1 win in the finals against Korea Republic. 

Dr Duncan has also been instrumental in developing a new postgraduate program dedicated to those who aspire to work as Sport Scientists. The High Performance Sport programs at ACU are cutting-edge. The programs go beyond strength and conditioning principles and integrate many aspects of sport science that have previously not been addressed in a sequential manner. The use of technology in sport science, the skills required to analyse and interpret performance data, the importance of leadership, and factors pertaining to fatigue and recovery are addressed within a contemporary approach to sport science.

Above all, Dr Duncan's greatest success in the past 12 months has been the positive and guiding influence he has had on the students he teaches. Dr Duncan realises that the profile of Sport Science in Australia is in the hands of the next group of qualified professionals. As such, he takes great pride in developing sport scientists who are ethical in nature, professional in approach, and respectful of others.

Well done Craig on an outstanding year!

Dr Craig Duncan ESSA Sport Scientist of the Year