A PEEK BEHIND THE STUDY … WITH OMAR HEYWARD

Heyward O, Emmonds S, Roe G, et al. Applied sport science and medicine of women’s rugby codes: a systematic-scoping review and consensus on future research priorities protocol. 

 

The full paper can be found here

 

Tell us more about yourself and the author team.

Omar Heyward is completing his PhD with the Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre at Leeds Beckett University. He is also a strength and conditioning coach with England Rugby’s women’s pathway (U18s and U20s) and a sport scientist with Leeds Rhinos Rugby League club academy team.

 

@Omar_Heyward

 

Stacey Emmonds is a Reader in Sports Performance at Leeds Beckett University. She currently works with a number of professional football teams and governing bodies to conduct research projects in the areas of sport science, strength and conditioning and talent development. Stacey also holds a consultancy role with the English Football Association as a physical performance coach for England Women U19s.

Gregory Roe is a Senior Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University and Head of Applied Science and Research at Bath Rugby. He completed his PhD with Leeds Beckett University investigating training load and match-induced fatigue within academy rugby union players.

Sean Scantlebury is a Research Fellow at Leeds Beckett University. He completed his PhD with the Carnegie Applied Rugby Research (CARR) Centre at Leeds Beckett University. He is also the lead performance coach for England Women Rugby League.

Keith Stokes is a Professor in the Department for Health at the University of Bath. He is also the Medical Research Lead at England Rugby.

Ben Jones is a Professor in Sport and Exercise Physiology within the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University, UK. Ben is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and the University of New England, Australia. Ben is also Strategic Lead for Performance, Science and Research at England Rugby League at the Rugby Football League and Pathway Performance Director at Leeds Rhinos Rugby League club.

 

What is the story behind your study?

We came to realise that the popularity of women’s sports and women’s rugby is growing, as a consequence there is lots of research being undertaken by various research groups internationally. To make a positive influence on women’s rugby through research, alignment of key stakeholders (e.g., researchers, national governing bodies) is imperative. We determined the first step in this process was to understand what published literature on women’s rugby was currently available. The second step was to determine the future research priorities in women’s rugby. With this evidence now available, it can be used to facilitate meaningful collaboration between key stakeholders, toward identified high-priority research topics.

 

In your own words, what did you find?

Overall, there is a limited amount of research available on women’s rugby across all themes (i.e., injury, physical performance, match characteristics, fatigue and recovery, nutrition and psychology). The most researched areas in women’s rugby to date have been an injury and physical performance. Experts in women’s rugby identified the future research priorities, which were injury, female health and physical performance. Several specific sub-topics were also identified by experts.

 

What was the main challenge you faced in your study?

The largest challenge was the Delphi process, whereby we recruited a large group of international experts in women’s rugby (n=31), collated their responses and provided feedback in a timely manner.

 

If there is one take-home message from your study, what would that be?

There is some excellent research in women’s rugby that has been already conducted but to further develop the field, researchers should aim to collaborate with each other and focus on injury, female health or physical performance topics.

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