Injury prevention in active populations

Injury prevention

Injury prevention in rugby

Injury prevention in rugby (Union and Sevens) is a high priority, to protect athletes’ health and optimise their performance. So why do some athletes seem to experience more than their fair share of injuries? Are their bodies less able to handle the challenges of the sport or are they more daring and risky in the way they participate? Does one injury predispose you to having another and another? To date, most research has looked at injuries largely in isolation from the athlete’s history, wherein, each season, a reset button is hit and the athlete or team injury tally resets to zero. Our team are working on improving the way we collect, report and analyse injury data that keeps the athlete central and looks at their sequence of injuries over time.

Preventing serious and fatal injury in sport

No one should die or be seriously injured while enjoying the benefits of sports. High profile cases draw the public’s interest but there are likely to be many unpublicised incidents within community level sports each year – from cardiac arrest, head and spinal injuries or heat stroke. In Australia it is not currently possible to quickly identify information such as the number of fatalities or injuries, the sports that people were participating in at the time or the underlying causes. This research aims to identify what information needs to be collected so that we can prevent or better manage these events. In addition, we look at how best to collate and report data so it can be used effectively across the sports sector.

Sports surface safety research

Given that increased participation in sport and active recreation has been identified as a priority in many countries, the choice, use and management of safe and sustainable playing surfaces is of growing importance. The prominence of research into Sports Surface Safety has increased significantly over the past few decades, largely due to changes in climatic conditions and the increasing demands for the provision of high-quality, high-performance sports surfaces that meet the sport, leisure and recreation needs of communities.

The sports surfaces cluster of the Injury Prevention for Active PopulationsRPFA is well recognised nationally by sporting and synthetic turf industries for producing high quality research that addresses real problems within an applied industry context.

Synthetic turf - player perceptions

We are collaborating with various councils and synthetic turf user groups to obtain information regarding participants’ perceptions of: the suitability of the synthetic surface for their sport; the physical and technical performance of the surface; their performance and recovery; and the frequency, nature and severity of injuries. Findings from this research will provide invaluable evidence for Councils.

Heat related issues on sports surfaces

This group has undertaken a significant body of research on surface temperatures experienced on synthetic turf in the hot, dry Australian climate and established the environmental and product-related factors contributing to the heat.

Risk management research

Due to, or perhaps in spite of, technical advances encouraging sedentary lifestyles and work habits, community interest and participation in structured and unstructured outdoor activities, has been increasing in recent decades. Organisations have responded to this demand by providing facilities or incentives for participation. These activities carry several risks including physical injury (e.g., to participants in Boot camps suffering sprains), conflict between outdoor users (e.g., road cyclists and cars), or to general health (e.g., exposure to water pollution while engaged in aquatic events). The Risk Management cluster engages in quality research focussing on organisations that provide or have a level of responsibility for safety management of outdoor (and active indoor) recreational pursuits.

Water quality in Port Phillip Bay
FedUni and Behaviour Works

This project applied a risk management research framework to better understand how the community responds to water quality forecasts for Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay. Using a range of methodologies including eye-tracking, self-report questionnaires and direct observation of beachgoers, the project has resulted in the development of water quality information signs, an understanding the number of people that use Port Phillip Bay for bathing, and a risk analysis protocol supporting and directing a public communication strategy for water quality.

Further Information

Dr Lauren Fortington

Phone: (03) 5327 8710

Dr Dara Twomey

Phone: (03) 5327 9062

Dr Damian Morgan

Phone: (03) 5122 6624