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An investigation of hamstring strain injuries in Australian Rules Football

Hamstring strain injuries are the most prevalent injury in the AFL. There is common consensus that strengthening the hamstrings should make them more robust and reduce the likelihood of an injury occurring. High performance programs in elite sport tend to utilise a holistic approach by incorporating several exercises aimed at improving lower limb strength in general, rather than a single exercise for the purpose of reducing injury risk. However why do these injuries still have the highest incidence within the AFL, despite all the preventative evidence that exists? This program of research will investigate the current practices for hamstring strain injury prevention and rehabilitation and the effectiveness of these interventions on reducing the incidence of injury.

Student: Mr Ray Breed

Supervisors: A/Prof David Opar, Dr Ryan Timmins, Dr Jack Hickey

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An investigation of hamstring musculotendinous structure and adaptation and region-specific tissue strain using computational modelling

This program of research will aim to investigate how the inherent variation of the biceps femoris long head structure and geometry may influence region specific strain during high-speed running and common hamstring exercises. This project will also aim to assess how the biceps femoris long head musculotendinous structure, particularly the aponeuroses, adapt in response to injury, chronic mechanical loading, and de-loading as well as how these variables may influence sprinting biomechanics.

Student: Mr Scott Hulm

Supervisors: A/Prof David Opar, Dr Jack Hickey, Dr Nirav Maniar and Dr Ryan Timmins

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What is the impact hamstring strain injury recovery and rehabilitation and neurophysiological measures of activation?

Description: Current evidence suggests that neurological maladaptation's occur as a result of hamstring strain injury. This project will ultilise transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to attempt to address these maladaptation's during the rehabilitation process.

Student: Mr Connor Lee Dow

Supervisors: A/Prof David Opar, Dr Paul Tofari, Dr Ryan Timmins

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The impact of hamstring strain injury on nervous system function

Hamstring strain injury is the most common injury in running based sport. There is limited evidence regarding the role that nervous system function plays in hamstring injury risk. This program of research aims to investigate the corticospinal function of the hamstrings following injury and if these characteristics can be modified.

Student: Mr Joel Presland

Supervisors: A/Prof David Opar, Dr Paul Tofari, Dr Ryan Timmins

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Biceps femoris morphology and mechanics: Implications for training and injury

Hamstring strain injuries (HSI) are a leading cause of athlete time loss in many sports, with injury typically occurring in the biceps femoris muscle. Recent investigations show lower limb stiffness to be correlated with HSI, though stiffness specifically of the biceps femoris remains under investigated. Additionally, computer simulations show that the magnitude of muscle strain is moderated by biceps femoris morphology, however in vivo research is sparce. My programme of research aims to fill these gaps by detailing whether biceps femoris stiffness and morphology contributes to HSI risk, and whether these parameters are modifiable through training.

Student: Mr Alexander Grant

Supervisors: Associate Professor David Opar, Dr Ryan Timmins

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Can nutritional supplementation amplify the molecular pathways for building muscle following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury?

Australia has one of the highest incidences of ACL reconstructions in the world. ACL injuries are frequently associated with atrophy of the quadriceps muscles that persists beyond, and in spite of, rehabilitation. Quadricep strength is important for many activities of daily life, with persistent weakness of these muscles following ACL injury contributing to poor function and resulting in deficits in performance, immobility and reduced quality of life.

This program of research will investigate the molecular pathway(s) underlying muscle deficits with previous ACL injury and the potential restorative effects of nutritional supplementation.

Student: Miriam Smith

Supervisors: Associate Professor David Opar, Dr Nolan Hoffman, Professor Louise Burke OAM (MMIHR)

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To examine the effects of fatigue on the hamstring muscle group following sprinting by analysing strength, biomechanics and muscle activation changes

Hamstring injuries continue to be a frequent injury in sports that require high-speed running or sprinting. Re-injuries are also quite common. This project aims to synthesise the effects of running based fatigue on the hamstrings and also to study the effects of hamstring fatigue on running biomechanics in athletes with and without history of previous hamstring injury. The goal will be to develop and identify methods of monitoring fatigue of the hamstrings which may help to reduce the risk of injury.

Student: Matthew Anthis

Supervisors: Associate Professor David Opar, Dr Ryan Timmins, Dr Jack Hickey, Dr Mark Moresi

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