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The School of Sport

Leeds United Kingdom Data Analysis Physiology Sport Performance Sport Technology

About the Project

Full-time Sponsored Postgraduate Research Studentships start date – April 2021 The PhD studentship will receive a bursary of £15,285 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) plus UK/EU Fees paid initially for a period of three years.

Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Rhinos are looking to recruit a highly motivated individual to join the research team at Leeds Beckett University. The PhD studentship will involve working alongside a leading international multidisciplinary research team and experienced staff at Leeds Rhinos. The candidates will have access to the world-class facilities at the Carnegie School of Sport, including the £45 million new build.

The successful candidate will undertake approximately 10 - 15 hrs per week, providing Performance Analysis support to the first team and academy. The project will focus on video analysis, and align with other projects focusing on clinical and medical outcomes.

Body and Head Collision and Contact Load in Rugby League; Implications for Player Welfare and Concussion Management

Research Team; Professor Ben Jones (project lead), Professor Kevin Till, Dr Dan Weaving, Dr Greg Tierney (University of Leeds), Dr Sharief Hendricks (University of Cape Town), Dr Marwan Al-Dawoud, James Bletsoe

Rugby league is a contact sport, whereby players are required to engage in repeated physical contacts during training and match play. There is an inherent injury risk to the body and head, with concussions reported as 5 and 13 per 1000 hrs for senior [1] and academy [2] rugby league players. The characteristics of injurious tackles have recently been evaluated, identifying potential risk factors during Super League [3]. In rugby union, head collisions have been associated with upright tackles [4] and technical deficiencies [5].

Within training, players are exposed to technical, tactical and physical collision loading, to safely prepare for match play and competition. The body and head collision and contact load, during training and match play requires accurate quantification at the men’s and women’s senior and youth levels. The accurate quantification of contact and collisions can be determined via video analysis [6][7] and new technologies [8][9].

The neurological outcomes associated with contact sports have recently received attention in the media and academic literature [10]. Whilst an emerging body of evidence exists, more research is required to understand the body and head collision and contact loads rugby league players are exposed to, to inform practice and policy modification.

Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals with the Project Lead; Prof. Ben Jones ().

For admission enquiries please contact the Graduate School at; 

Further information and an application form can be found at

Funding Notes

A stipend of £15,285 per annum (pro-rata into 12 monthly payments) for three years
UK/EU Fees paid for a period of three years
A laptop will be provided and office space (subject to LBU COVID19 arrangements for return to campus) and the opportunity to apply for funding to support the research project


Fitzpatrick AC, Naylor AS, Myler P, et al. A three-year epidemiological prospective cohort study of rugby league match injuries from the European Super League. J Sci Med Sport 2018;21:160–5. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2017.08.012
Tee JC, Till K, Jones B. Incidence and characteristics of injury in under-19 academy level rugby league match play: A single season prospective cohort study. J Sports Sci 2019;37:1181–8. doi:10.1080/02640414.2018.1547100
Hopkinson M, Nicholson G, Weaving D, et al. Rugby league ball carrier injuries: The relative importance of tackle characteristics during the European Super League. Eur J Sport Sci 2020;0:1–20. doi:10.1080/17461391.2020.1853817
Tucker R, Raftery M, Fuller GW, et al. A video analysis of head injuries satisfying the criteria for a head injury assessment in professional Rugby Union: a prospective cohort study. Br J Sports Med 2017;51:1147–51. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097883
Davidow D, Quarrie K, Viljoen W, et al. Tackle technique of rugby union players during head impact tackles compared to injury free tackles. J Sci Med Sport 2018;21:1025–31. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2018.04.003
Hendricks S, Till K, den Hollander S, et al. Consensus on a video analysis framework of descriptors and definitions by the Rugby Union Video Analysis Consensus group. Br J Sports Med 2020;54:566–72. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2019-101293
Gardner AJ, Howell DR, Iverson GL. A video review of multiple concussion signs in National Rugby League match play. Sports Med - Open 2018;4:5. doi:10.1186/s40798-017-0117-9
Liu Y, Domel AG, Yousefsani SA, et al. Validation and Comparison of Instrumented Mouthguards for Measuring Head Kinematics and Assessing Brain Deformation in Football Impacts. ArXiv200801903 Phys Published Online First: 24 December 2020. doi:10.1007/s10439-020-02629-3
Kieffer EE, Begonia MT, Tyson AM, et al. A Two-Phased Approach to Quantifying Head Impact Sensor Accuracy: In-Laboratory and On-Field Assessments. Ann Biomed Eng 2020;48:2613–25. doi:10.1007/s10439-020-02647-1
Manley G, Gardner AJ, Schneider KJ, et al. A systematic review of potential long-term effects of sport-related concussion. Br J Sports Med 2017;51:969–77. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097791

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