It is always a busy time for the team at SWA and even though the rugby and football seasons are moving towards their conclusion in earnest, we are busier than ever with major studies in progress looking at the contact loads for elite men’s and women’s rugby and the loads that occur whilst heading the football using our new, very much smaller, retainer style mouthguard for the Premier League.
We are hugely excited to be working on a number of large proposals at the highest levels of a number of different sports that will take the use of the PROTECHT system to a different level. The system is already highly sophisticated but the larger the data pool being worked on, the more powerful the system becomes and the greater the value of the insights we can deliver to our customers.
We are also working hard on the next generation of electronics for the PROTECHT system. This is a really exciting time for us as we have been able to incorporate so much of our customers feedback into the product that will be available for next season.
We are upgrading the electronics to newer more powerful versions whilst continuing to take advantage of their ever-decreasing size has allowed us to remove everything from the pallet but retain that all important soft feel to the front. Based on tests and feedback by players from our existing partners, the difference in fit is already night and day. These new electronics will also allow key new functionality to come online over the course of the following six months.
One of these new features will be the ability to remotely monitor players. With all impacts able to be stored on the guard when live reporting is not possible, athletes can play matches and train away and still have their data retrospectively uploaded to the club system. This will allow the club to always keep a close eye on them ensuring that their overall training and match loads can still be effectively managed. This functionality will be fantastic for players who don’t always train and compete in the same location with support staff present allowing far greater contact load management of all players at the club.
We will also be able to give you the ability to measure running and internal loads LIVE directly from the mouthguard. We will be able to report total distance, distance at velocity and average velocity amongst other variables whilst internal load can be measured through a heart rate monitor. This will allow us to provide you with a one stop solution for monitoring exactly what is happening to your players as they train and compete.
With all the excitement about the mouthguard, it is really important for us to remember that our focus is and will always be about finding new ways to deliver insight to you from the data. To that end I would urge you to check out the new academic paper that has been published in conjunction with our partners at Swansea University on the practical application of our technology to managing contact loads in rugby union later in this newsletter. This paper already attracted a lot of attention across the world. We have more in the pipeline which we believe will continue to advance knowledge in this key area and keep PROTECHT at the forefront of thought leadership in this space.
We were delighted to announce last month our exciting project with Premier League football examining the effects of heading. In partnership with Premier League football we are working with a number of teams from Liverpool and Manchester City to explore the area further:
We were also proud to feature on the One Show with partners Gloucester Rugby and Bristol Bears ladies where Phil Vickery discussed the PROTECHT product with players and coaches from the teams
Harlequins TV also interviewed stars Danny Care and Will Evans along with the Head of Medical Mike Lancaster about how the PROTECHT system is helping to improve player welfare and improve team performance. This is a brilliant summary of how teams can work with the PROTECHT system
We invite applications to the role of Rugby Union Account Manager – Sports Scientist.
To apply, please send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Working with the excellent Sport and Exercise Science team at Swansea University the following paper around Collision monitoring in elite male rugby union using a new instrumented mouth-guard has been published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Science
I’ve always loved being involved in sport, so when I was given the opportunity to take a year in industry as part of my Psychology degree at Loughborough University it made sense to explore opportunities that would combine the two. Whilst reading around head injury in the media, I came across Sports and Wellbeing Analytics. I have been undergoing an internship as a sport scientist with SWA as part of my degree for the last 9 months, where I have learned and acquired a wide range of academic and workplace skills.
In the first few months, I analysed data collected by elite and non-elite men’s rugby union teams, coding anatomical impact sites and comparing the numbers between the body and head. This allowed me to apply existing and develop new skills in data handling and analysis, all related to my degree. Presenting results back to colleagues and coaches has allowed me to effectively communicate and contextualise ideas of how the data can be applied to enhance safety of community rugby. I have gone on to code impact data across other elite men’s and women’s rugby union clubs, and over an elite boxing event.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been grateful for exposure in the field with Bristol Bears Women, where I have been supporting data collection. Practical experiences have exposed me to the unique dynamic of a team, and their match-week preparations. I report data back to coaches and support staff as part of my role, using volume and intensity metrics. These inform the contact loads of drills, assessing whether they achieve what they set out to. This has developed my knowledge in sport science, and how to adapt my language around a topic.
On a matchday I monitor the system live, relaying data in real-time to staff to protect player wellbeing during competition. My problem solving and decision making has grown in confidence under pressured environments as a result. After the match, I report individuals’ impact count, and average and peak values. I describe these as light, moderate, and strong impacts to contextualise the numbers, whilst visualising trends through graphs. The data allows me to suggest post-match week applications for individuals to facilitate their recovery.
I have also taken part in CPD sessions with the sports science team, where we discuss current academia. This has allowed me to expand my understanding further and contribute perspectives with my Psychology cap on. Evaluating and synthesising the literature is a skill I’m practicing, which I’m looking forward to carrying into my final year of my degree. Also being involved in team calls and cross-department meetings, brainstorming, and funding proposals has exposed me to the business side of elite sport and the workplace. I have found these insights invaluable, allowing me to realise the operation of a business. These experiences have helped me understand how the team come together to achieve shared goals, and the processes between people internally and externally.
At the end of my internship, I’ll be going back to University to write my dissertation. I hope to carry over the skills, experiences, and knowledge I’ve gained working with SWA, and look forward to developing them further for the rest of my internship.