We are lucky to have a brilliant team of Sport Scientists here at SWA who provide real value to the teams and athletes that we work with. The role they play is in translating the data from the PROTECHT system into meaningful insights that help transform player welfare and team performance. The team are at the forefront of thinking in this area, with technology like ours not having been available until now.
A recent example features in the news section below where our partners at Harlequins talk about how we have helped and supported them revolutionise training and reduce contact by 90%. This has ultimately led to a significantly lower than base line injury rates at a time when the injury list is normally at its longest, increased player availability and increases in player welfare. Anyone who saw their semi final game against Bristol where they came from 28 points behind, get stronger as the game played out, secure the victory in injury time and then go on to win the Premiership title in a hotly contested final the following weekend will attest that player freshness was most certainly a factor in these amazing results.
With some big projects now on the horizon for SWA we are looking to grow this team and applications are welcome for applied Sports Scientists to join us. We are always keen to forge and maintain strong links with our sports so should you have any interns or others that you work with who are looking for really exciting opportunities in this area we would love to hear from you. More information on the role can be found here:
We are also pleased to have two new additions to the commercial arm of the team. Alan Williams has taken the position of Global Head of Football. Alan has a strong sales background and began his life in football as a VIP sales consultant serving dressing rooms throughout the country where he has established many life-long friendships. Following his successful spell as Chief Executive at Crawley Town where he enjoyed 4 years and back to back promotions, Alan was appointed as Millwall FC’s first Commercial Director. Building a dynamic award winning Commercial and Marketing Teams. We have also been fortunate to add Rupert Hunter to our ranks as a senior consultant. Rupert has a wealth of experience in the commercial side of sport, having previously worked as Vice President and Head of Media Sponsorship for IMG, Head of Brand partnerships for the International Cricket Council and more recently as Chief Commercial Advisor for Six Nations Rugby. Both Alan and Rupert have made an immediate impact on the business.
The SWA board has been significantly strengthened with two recent additions. I am delighted to say that Paul Richardson has joined us as our new Chairman and will draw on his experiences as Chair of the Special Olympics to help SWA to continue its dynamic journey. James Williamson has also joined the Board to help shape strategy around our Sports Marketing and Communications. After many successful years in sports marketing, James now runs his own sports agency, The Sports Partnership, who count a number of very high-profile sports people amongst its clients. We are sure Paul and James will help us strengthen our business and constantly remind us that our customers are at the heart of everything we do.
Danny Care commented “When Protecht came and they had this invention that can fit into a gumshield that can monitor how hard people are getting hit, and how many times people are getting hit, I was like: ‘this is mind-blowing!’ Why didn’t we have this back when I started?”
As Mike Lancaster, Harlequins’ head of medical services, explains, the introduction of reduced contact training is one of two major shifts at the club after the departure of former head of rugby Paul Gustard in January.
“What we are doing now, in terms of how we changed the amount of contact, is the second biggest change this season. We have more players available and fit. It has been a major factor for how we have performed.”
Care continues: “Mike, the medical team and the strength and conditioners and coaches have been great at listening to the advice, monitoring us, reducing the load and then we are getting more of our best players playing at the weekend. It isn’t rocket science. It is sensible, it is people’s lives, it is not just their rugby careers. The players are human beings who need their brains when they finish.”
Harlequins coaches, Nick Evans and Adam Jones, also discussed in the Telegraph, the 11 defining games of their season. Adam Jones credits the medical and S&C staff, commenting: “We’re well managed by Mike Lancaster and Gaz Tong, who understand the metres and what the boys’ bodies are going through, using the gumshield technology for collisions. It showed in the Wasps game.”
In our blog, Head of Science and Performance Metrics, Dr Chris Jones outlines the key fundamental principles that inform the development of the PROTECHT system.