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Adaptation to sport injury: Understanding change in motor coordination, perception and pain avoidance

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Ezio Preatoni
    Dr C McKay
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Sport injuries constitute a significant public health burden in the UK. Evidence suggests up to 9.8 million sport injuries occur annually, which require medical attention or result in time loss from physical activity and/or absence from work (Kendrick et al 2012; Nicholl et al 1995). Sustaining an injury is a primary risk factor for subsequent injury, suggesting the occurrence of as-yet unidentified processes during rehabilitation that may prevent individuals from returning to pre-injury functional levels. For example, hamstring injuries, which are the most recurrent injury in sport, still show steady incidence rates despite prevention and rehabilitation efforts (Crosier, 2004; Mendiguchia et al., 2010).

Movement adaptation processes occurring in response to pain and functional limitation may put individuals at risk of re-injury or subsequent injury upon return to sport. The mechanisms underlying these alterations are inherently multifactorial, making their current understanding incomplete and the implementation of screening and management policies ineffective (Hodges & Tucker, 2011). The aim of this PhD studentship is to take a novel, multidisciplinary (biomechanics & psychophysiology) approach to understanding injury recovery and to explore alterations in motor control and pain perception that may increase re-injury risk.

1. To investigate the contribution of tissue damage and pain to movement adaptation by comparing motor patterns between injured subjects and healthy subjects with experimentally induced pain.
2. To quantify the plasticity of movement and perceptual alteration by exploring the time-scale of adaptation.
3. To explore the association between adaptations (in movement and perception) and recurrence of injury over time.

The successful applicant will gain expertise in a number of biomechanics, motor control, and computer simulation techniques and will also have the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues of Dr Preatoni and Dr McKay in and outside the University of Bath.

Funding Notes

We consider applications from those who:
- are happy to compete for University and Graduate School funding (see URSA call at, or
- obtain external funding.

Funding is difficult to obtain and highly competitive. You are responsible for researching sources of funding early (in some cases up to 12 months in advance) and applying (in conjunction with your agreed supervisor) for as many as possible.

This PhD opportunity is also available to self-funded students.
Applications must be made through the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Graduate School:

How good is research at University of Bath in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 22.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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