UC research uses mouthguards to measure rugby collisions
Whether it’s a child learning how to tackle or professional players at the Super Rugby Final, mouthguards are essential kit. But imagine if this rugby accessory could help improve performance as well as safety?
As a Masters student, Hamish participated in the University of Canterbury and Crusaders Internship Programme, where he developed industry connections and gained a taste of where he could go in his career.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Sport Coaching and a Master of Sport Science with Distinction, Hamish is now investigating new ways of monitoring player workloads. His PhD research aims to investigate the demands of match play, so players are training and recovering in ways that ensure they can perform at their best on game day.
“Basically, what I’m doing is trying to measure impacts and collisions on the field. We’re doing more than just counting the number of contacts, such as a tackle or a ruck – we’re trying to understand what’s actually happening at the collision, because no two contacts are the same. We are using accelerometers to measure the forces of impacts out on the field to give us the data we require. With access to this data, we can look at and assess it, then train players to best prepare them for their next game,” Hamish says.
“We’re trying to better understand what’s currently happening, and then enhance the knowledge we have to apply it in slightly different ways. It’s about gradual modification to help the team play better each time.”