A global increase in injury prevalence is threatening the wide-ranging benefits of sport, exercise and physical activity. Scientific insights into the complex and multifaceted nature of injury are essential to assist in alleviating the deleterious effects by developing the most effective prevention and rehabilitation strategies.
The Applied Injury Science Research Group addresses cross-cutting themes associated with injury prediction, occurrence, response and rehabilitation using an innovative programme of multi- and interdisciplinary research. The group’s overall mission is to merge individual discipline research excellence in disciplines including biomechanics, psychology, psychophysiology and sport medicine to enhance the quality and impact of applied injury science research. The group’s mission is addressed through four primary areas of research.
Research / Innovation Areas
Prediction of injury occurrence
Although physical and mental stress is integral in facilitating positive training adaptations for enhanced sport performance, excessive levels of stress can be detrimental in heightening the risk of, and occurrence of injury. Both injury and stress are multifaceted in nature – a feature that has hindered our understanding of the mechanisms and prevalence of injury occurrence. This research uses innovative multi- and interdisciplinary approaches that draws on perspectives from psychology, biomechanics and psychophysiology to explore the complex interactions of stress-related factors in the prediction and occurrence of sport injury.
Key Themes: Stress interactions in athlete injury occurrence; Stress & sport performance.
Response to, and recovery from injury
The consequences of injury occurrence are typically associated with physiological and anatomical factors. A growing body of empirical research has however, suggested that psychological and psychosocial factors can contribute to, facilitate and inhibit the recovery from injury. This research examines the multifaceted psychological factors involved with athletes’ responses to, and recovery from injury. Factors including athletes’ social support, treatment efficacy and adherence, and confidence are examined.
Key Themes: Psychological & psychosocial factors; Social & emotional support; Recovery efficacy & adherence.
Injury rehabilitation and return-to-sport
The development of effective rehabilitation strategies is fundamental in facilitating timely and safe returns to sport. This research employs perspectives from psychology, biomechanics, physiology and neuromechanics to examine and inform the development of these strategies. Within the first stage of injury rehabilitation, lower-limb mechanical loading (biomechanics), movement efficiency (physiological effects) and performance outcomes are examined in response to the implementation of retraining strategies centred on focus of attention and self-modelling (psychological) theories. Other research employs a neuromechanical perspective to examine posture and movement interactions that facilitate the design of functional tests and help to inform the development of return-to-sport strategies.
Key Themes: Running retraining; Motor learning for rehabilitation; ACL injury & return-to-sport.
Sports injury medicine and practitioner-performance interface
Perspectives from sport medicine, biomechanics, psychology, data science and epidemiology are used to inform the transfer of scientific insights to the practitioner-performance interface. This research is critical in providing evidence-informed medical strategies, allowing priority injury problems to be identified and injury trends to be assessed. Group members work closely with National Governing Bodies within sport to undertake injury epidemiology projects and to provide bespoke injury prevention and management advice.
Key Themes: Statistical analysis of injury patterns; Loading & injury risk; Intra- & inter-personal effects in sport performance.
Leah Bitchell - Academic Associate, PhD
Lloyd Griffin - Academic Associate, PhD
Kirsty Ledingham - Academic Associate, PhD
Molly McCarthy - Ryan - Academic Associate, PhD
Ben Robson - Academic Associate, PhD
Tom Williams - Academic Associate, PhD
Prof Gareth Irwin (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)
Dr Rhodri Lloyd (Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK)
Dr Kelly Ashford (Canada)
Dr Adam Bruton (Roehampton University, UK)
Dr Ceri Diss (Roehampton University, UK)
Mr Harry Fisher (UK)
Mr Prav Mathema (UK)
Prof Richard Mullen (University of South Wales, UK)
Dr Max Paquette (University of Memphis, USA)
Dr Vicky Stiles (Exeter University, UK)
Dr Ross Wadey (St Mary’s University, UK)
Dr Maximilian Wdowski (Coventry University, UK)
Dr Rich Willy (University of Montana, USA)
Dr Hannah Wyatt (Auckland University of Technology, NZ, Jan 2020)
Examples of Funding
British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) Early Career Researcher and Practitioner Award
Cardiff Metropolitan University Research Innovation Award (2016-2019):
An interdisciplinary stress-based examination of injury occurrence and response in competitive sport
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Partnership PhD Studentship (2019-):
The relationship between social support, capitalization support, treatment efficacy and adherence during the rehabilitation phase of injury
Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2):
Developing lower limb biomechanical injury risk metrics to inform return-to-play using wearable technology
Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS2):
Player-specific injury risk and the impact on performance in male professional rugby union
MRC Proximity to Discover:
Assessing the validity and feasibility of objectively quantifying training characteristics associated with the development of running related injuries
Welsh Rugby Union:
Injury prevention in elite rugby union
The impact of concussion on subsequent injury risk in Rugby Union