Revolutionising sport medicine

Our research in this area spans pathways from regaining functionality post-injury through to returning to work and adherence to rehabilitation programmes.

We seek to enhance work on injury prevention and management, respiratory health, concussion, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, the immune function and infection risk, and regenerative medicine.

We deliver this via world-leading academics and through specialist centres, for example, Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport. We are home to the IOC-accredited National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands, specialising in prevention of injury and protection of athlete health.

A key driver of research in this area is the development of the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), co-located with the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate near Loughborough. This will deliver a focal point for world-leading research and innovation, alongside education and training in rehabilitation sciences and patient care.

Shoulder health

Shoulder pain is one of the primary health concerns for wheelchair dependent individuals, with up to 73% of wheelchairs users thought to experience pain at some point in their life.

However, very little is known about what causes shoulder pain and even less is known about how we can prevent it. The Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport have been working on this area over recent years to understand more about the biomechanics of wheelchair propulsion in individuals with and without shoulder pain.

Shoulder health research

Propulsion biomechanics and shoulder health

To date we have identified certain kinematic characteristics that are present in wheelchair users with shoulder pain and how these develop longitudinally. However, less is still known about whether these kinematics are a cause of the pain or a compensatory strategy to alleviate the pain. Future work will explore the effectiveness of exercise interventions as a conservative treatment method for shoulder pain.

Shoulder health research Published research

Meet the experts

Photograph of Vicky Tolfrey

Professor Vicky Tolfrey

Professor of Applied Disability Sport and Director of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Novel technologies for military training

Our research into novel technologies and analysis to quantify the exposure to injury resulting from initial military training has the potential to ease the medical personnel and financial burden for the armed forces.

Mandatory basic training varies from 12-50 weeks in length and is necessarily arduous to ensure soldier capability for active duty.

military training

Preventing musculoskeletal injury in military personnel

Recent defence statistics show up to 57.3% of new recruits and 17.0% of trained personnel were medically discharged from 1st April 2017 – 31 March 2018, with 57% of medical discharges associated with musculoskeletal injury. Knowledge of patterns/thresholds that relate to injury incidence will help the prescription of physical training programmes in the future.

Military training research

Meet the expert

Photograph of Paul Sanderson

Dr Paul Sanderson

Applied Sport & Exercise Scientist

Managing medical care at road running races

The management of medical care at road running races worldwide is a longstanding topic of investigation by Loughborough University researchers.

Running race

Informing medical guidelines at races

Academics are studying fluid intake behaviours and requirements at races, the true performance effect of dehydration, the impact of hydration status on kidney function, including the risk of acute kidney injury, and risk factors of exercise associated hyponatremia (low levels of sodium concentration in the blood). This research has been used to support industry guidelines, notably the International Institute for Race Medicine Medical Care Manual.

Published research 1 Published research 2

Meet the expert

Photograph of Stephen Mears

Dr Stephen Mears

Senior Lecturer in Sports & Exercise Nutrition