Dr Rich Johnston

Dr Rich Johnston

Senior Lecturer
School of Behavioural and Health Sciences

Areas of expertise: sport science; training load; muscle fatigue; athlete profiling; microtechnology; data analysis

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6618-2853

Phone: +61 3623 7726

Email: richard.johnston@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Brisbane Campus

Rich Johnston has worked as a strength and conditioning coach and sport scientist across several sports in both the UK and Australia. He completed his PhD from Australian Catholic University in 2015 where he investigated fatigue, recovery and physical performance in rugby league players. Since his PhD, Rich has conducted research across various team sports including rugby league, rugby union, soccer and Australian football. His main skills are around data analysis and modelling, as such, he is involved in a wide range of projects. His main areas of interest are how technology can be used and integrated to support athletes in understanding and managing performance, sleep and recovery from sports-related concussions.

Select publications

Johnston RD, Gabbett TJ, Jenkins DG, and Hulin BT. Influence of physical qualities on post-match fatigue in rugby league players. J Sci Med Sport 18: 209-213, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.01.009

Johnston RD, Gabbett TJ, Seibold AJ, and Jenkins DG. Influence of physical contact on neuromuscular fatigue and markers of muscle damage following small-sided games. J Sci Med Sport 17: 535-540, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2013.07.018

Johnston RD, Gabbett TJ, and Jenkins DG. Applied sport science of rugby league. Sports Med 44: 1087-1100, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-014-0190-x

Hulin BT, Gabbett TJ, Pickworth NJ, Johnston RD, and Jenkins DG. Relationships among playerload, high-intensity intermittent running ability, and injury risk in professional rugby league players. International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance 1: 1-7, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.2019-0139

Johnston RD, Weaving D, Hulin BT, Till K, Jones B, and Duthie G. Peak movement and collision demands of professional rugby league competition. J Sports Sci: 1-8, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2019.1622882


Validity and reliability of microtechnology devices for measuring team sport movement profiles

  • Systematic review of current literature – accepted in Sports Med
  • Inter-unit reliability of microtechnology devices – accepted in JSMS
  • Validity of microtechnology devices for measuring team sport movements
  • Validity of microtechnology devices for measuring instantaneous velocity

Sleep profiles of elite athletes

  • The use of the Pittsburgh Quality Sleep Index in elite athletes to monitor sleep – accepted in Sports Med
  • Sleep variability in athletes compromises sleep quality – under review Sports Med Open

Using microtechnology devices to monitor return to play following a concussion

  • Systematic review
  • Do microtechnology movement profiles change following a concussion
  • Relationship between microtechnology devices and clinically assessed neurological dysfunction in concussed athletes
  • Relationship to injury risk

Accolades and awards

Visiting position Leeds Beckett University 2018-to current

Appointments and affiliations

Applied experience/roles

  • Sport Scientist, Heart of Midlothian Football Club (three years)
  • Sport Scientist, Scottish Rowing (one year)
  • Sport Scientist, Livingston Football Club (one year)
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach and Head of Performance, Norths Devils Rugby League Football Club (six years)

Current and prior consultancy roles

Rich has provided consultancy roles to Queensland Rugby League player performance pathways (2013-2018), which involved profiling players during State of Origin camps. Rich now conducts applied research and consultancy with a number of sporting teams in Australia and overseas. This primarily automating and expanding their data analysis of various data streams in order to optimise operations.


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