NBA’s Kings find an edge in ACU partnership

An exciting partnership between Australian Catholic University and the Sacramento Kings will expose the NBA club to world leading researchers and timely advances in performance, recovery and sports technology.

The agreement will give the Kings’ Health and Performance Team access to ACU’s respected Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies (SPRINT) Research Centre as they apply sport science to the risk and performance management on the basketball court.

“ACU is a world leader in the high performance sport movement,” Kings Vice President of Health and Performance Teena Murray said. “We are excited to grow our relationship with the world renowned ACU faculty, including Dr. Grant Duthie, Dr. Shona Halson and Dr. Stu Cormack, and the SPRINT Centre.

“From specialised training methodologies and individualised prevention and nutrition strategies, to the use of predictive analytics to manage fitness and fatigue, virtual reality for neurocognitive training, and wearable sensors for all types of real-time performance monitoring, we can all agree that science is quietly revolutionising sport.

“Behind this high-performance movement is a fierce desire to create a competitive advantage, and in front of it, a need for new knowledge, skills, models, expertise and approaches. Aligning interests to capitalise on these new and growing trends necessitates integrated and collaborative partnerships between sport and academia. The Kings and ACU are a natural fit. Both share a vision for leading edge research and practice, and a passion for developing the next generation of high performance talent.”

A pillar of ACU’s School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, the SPRINT Research Centre focuses on the interactions between athlete performance, fatigue, sleep and recovery interventions and the prevention, risk identification and rehabilitation of injury with a strong emphasis on findings that directly translate into practice.

Its research projects include investigating the reliability and validity of wearable microtechnology in team sports, the impact of hamstring strains on nervous system function and sleep characteristics of elite team sport athletes.

ACU alumni, Head of Sport Science Jesse Green and Physiotherapist Aisling Toolan, are already embedded within the Kings’ Health and Performance Team and the partnership will open more learning opportunities for graduates of the university’s Master of High Performance Sport program.

“This agreement is a win-win,” ACU Executive Dean of Health Sciences Professor Justin Kemp said. “It connects a top club in one of the world’s biggest sports leagues to best practice sport science backed by an internationally recognised university.”

ACU’s Faculty of Health Sciences is a leader in research and is ranked in the top 25 universities worldwide for sport science (Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020). Through the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, its Exercise Science department and Exercise Lifestyle Clinic, and the SPRINT Research Centre, the partnership will focus on initiatives including research projects, athlete screening, student supervision for ACU higher degree research students, coach education and placement opportunities for ACU students.

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