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Reliability and validity of wearable microtechnology devices in team sports

This project looks at the validity and reliability of global navigation satellite systems throughout movements commonplace to field-based team sports. Specifically, we are looking to discover if the validity and reliability is consistent over time eg multiple sessions.

Student: Mr Zachary Crang

Supervisor(s): Dr Rich Johnston, Dr Grant Duthie, Dr Jonathon Weakley

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Understanding the adolescent athlete

This program of research will investigate factors that impact adolescent athletes’ performance and injury rates. Studies will look to quantify the psychological and physical loads that adolescent athletes experience and the impact of these loads on performance and injury. Further, factors that may build resilience to these loads will be investigated. Ultimately, this program of research will assist practitioners in knowing what loading factors may affect performance and injury, and how to best manage these loads in adolescent athletes.

Student: Charles Dudley

Supervisor(s): Dr Jonathon Weakley and Dr Richard Johnston

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Can we use wearable microtechnology devices to monitor neurological changes and injury risk post-concussion in team sport players?

Sports-related concussion, a transient trauma induced alteration in mental status, accounts for approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million reported cases annually in the United States alone.

Current protocols used to diagnose and determine return to play typically rely on subjective interpretation, with poor sensitivity one week post-injury. Due to the issues with these assessments, it is suggested that players return to their respective sports with lingering neuromuscular deficits.

Indeed, lab assessments have highlighted poorer neuromuscular control in previously concussed athletes that persist for months following a concussive event. However, these assessments are time consuming and require access to specialised equipment that make them redundant for many practitioners. It has been proposed that the use of microtechnology, specifically inertial measurement units (IMUs) may aid in objectively assessing alterations in gait parameters upon return to play. The studies in this PhD aim to assess validity and reliability of thoracic placed IMUs and their place in assessing motor deficits post-concussion.

Student: Laura Dunne

Supervisor(s): Dr Rich Johnston, A/Prof Stuart Cormack, Dr Michael Cole

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The use of triaxial accelerometry for measuring stride parameters and vertical stiffness in team sport athletes

Inertial measurement units (IMUs) are used for running gait analysis in a variety of sports. These sensors have been attached at various locations to capture stride data. However, it is unclear if different placement sites affect the derived outcome measures. These studies will examine the validity and reliability of accelerometers placed at various sites for the measurement of discrete stride parameters in addition to the impact of fatigue on vertical stiffness and stride variables.

Student: Mr Ben Horsley

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Stu Cormack, Dr Paul Tofari, Prof Shona Halson

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Impact of mental fatigue on strength and power performance

The majority of mental fatigue literature has focused on endurance performance and capacity when fatigued. However, there is a lack of research in the strength and power performance space. As such, this program of research aims to focus on quantifying the impact mental fatigue has on strength and power performance.

Student: Mr Alex Sakadjian

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Stu Cormack, Dr Paul Tofari, Prof Shona Halson

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Acute responses and chronic adaptations to high-intensity interval training methods used during team-sport conditioning

This program of research will investigate the acute and chronic effects of high-intensity interval training methods used during team-sport conditioning on physiological, neuro-muscular, and musculoskeletal responses. It will demonstrate how different methods can influence the responses to training, and how exercise variables can be manipulated to enhance performance and mitigate fatigue.

Student: Mr Fraser Thurlow

Supervisor(s): Dr Jonathon Weakley, Dr Andrew Townshend

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