NUI Galway research to improve local footballers' fitness levels

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Tuesday 20th March 2007: A unique agreement that will enable the physical performance of young footballers to be analysed to improve training methods has been signed by the Faculty of Medicine at NUI Galway and Salthill Devon Football Club.

Medical and Informatics students at the University are involved in the Clinical Science Institute (CSI) Galway Human Performance Registry project which is being supported by the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway. The medical students will retrieve, store and analyse the information and the informatics students, in conjunction with students at Hanze University, Groningen, in the Netherlands, will construct a website that can give insight into the current physical fitness of the footballers.

The students will also research how to improve physical performance based on the data collected on the younger footballers. Qualified supervisors who have a sports science background will use tools such as the Interval Shuttle Run Test, the Shuttle Sprint and Dribble Test and the Vertical Jump and muscle force test to assess sports specific human performance/physical fitness. These tests have been used in Dutch premier league soccer and hockey and a spin off is expected to be developed for Gaelic football, hurling and rugby.

Dr Thomas Kropmans, Department of Medical Informatics and Medical Education at NUI Galway said the Registry could be developed further to analyse secondary school children for obesity and would link up with other medical research such as that being conducted into diabetes and cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation.

"The outcome of these tests will be used to improve current training methods for teams and/or individuals. The assessment will take place 2 -3 times per season over a two year period," he said.

Lorraine McIlrath, Academic Staff Developer, Service Learning, at CKI praised the project for its mutual benefit to the students and sportspeople involved.

"The CSI Galway Human Performance Registry is a win-win project for both the University and the community. First year medical students win by retrieving, storing and analyzing biological variation of human data, while the contributing sports clubs win by improving current training methods," she said.

ENDS

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