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 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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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.