As part of the October monthly update, we introduce to you two new PhD students working within the School of Sport Exercise and Health Sciences here at Loughborough University.
“My name is Anna Martin and I am really excited to be joining the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport to commence my PhD study. Originally from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, I have been involved with sports from a young age, am a keen flautist and love travelling with my family. Alongside my own sports participation, I also really enjoy coaching and regularly volunteer with Special Olympics GB through involvement with DOSportUK’s multisport disability sessions and Lancashire Cricket Foundation’s Super 1s Programme.
I completed my BSc in Psychology at the University of Buckingham and my MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University, where I found my main research interests surrounded vision, gaze-behaviour and neuroscience within the sports sector.
My interest in vision science, combined with work within the disability sector, led to the proposition of a MSc dissertation aiming to assess gaze behaviour in lower-limb amputees. Due to COVID-19, this project (like many things!) was unable to go ahead, and I am therefore extremely excited to become part of the PHC and involved with research in this area. Instead I investigated the impact of COVID-19 on recreational athletes, where over 2000 responses highlighted the impact of pandemic restrictions on participation, engagement with alternative exercise methods and feelings about returning to sport.
The research that I will be undertaking sits within the sports performance research strand of the PHC and contributes to the IPC’s requirement of all sports to develop evidence-based classification systems. The project (supervised by Dr Donghyun Ryu, Dr Robin Jackson and Dr David Mann) aims to address classification in sports without an able-bodied equivalent by developing an evidence-based classification system for visually impaired athletes in the sport of goalball. The outcome of this project expects to form the basis of a new classification system to be adopted in goalball for the 2028 Paralympic games and beyond.
The project combines my academic interest in research with the development of a new, robust, evidence-based classification system for goalball; a fantastic opportunity to be involved in a project with significant, real-world impact. I am really looking forward to undertaking this research and becoming a part of the Loughborough community.”