BASEM grant success for youth rugby injury research
Staff in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences have secured a Research Bursary from the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) to investigate the role of puberty in the relationship between relative age and sports injury.
The relative age effect is prevalent in sporting systems and describes a selection bias towards athletes born earlier in the year as a result of the benefits of maturation. This effect is often exacerbated by psychosocial mechanisms, whereby ‘success breeds success’.
The research group will engage with community and performance pathway rugby within North Wales to investigate whether athletes born at different times of the year are more prone to different types of injury (e.g. contact injuries versus overuse injuries) both before and after puberty.
Findings will support community and high-performance rugby systems to identify athletes more at risk of injury at different stages of the youth rugby pathway. This information will be used to inform the implementation of targeted injury prevention strategies via strength and conditioning and physiotherapy related techniques. The overall aim will be to reduce injury incidence and subsequently increase athlete availability and participation across the season.
Dr Vicky Gottwald and Dr Julian Owen will be working on the project with Dr Rhodri Martin, a Sport and Exercise Medicine consultant at Sport Wales and in the NHS. Vicky commented, “We are delighted to receive the bursary from BASEM as this will help to support a research student to work with community rugby clubs in North Wales and colleagues at Rugby Gogledd Cymru (RGC) to collect the data. The project has exciting connotations for how coaching staff can individualise training protocols and better manage competition exposure across different age groups and builds on our ongoing sport injury research within the school”.
Publication date: 28 May 2021