Leeds Beckett University
  • Leeds, United Kingdom
Recent publications
Background Collisions in rugby union and sevens have a high injury incidence and burden, and are also associated with player and team performance. Understanding the frequency and intensity of these collisions is therefore important for coaches and practitioners to adequately prepare players for competition. The aim of this review is to synthesise the current literature to provide a summary of the collision frequencies and intensities for rugby union and rugby sevens based on video-based analysis and microtechnology. Methods A systematic search using key words was done on four different databases from 1 January 1990 to 1 September 2021 (PubMed, Scopus, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science). Results Seventy-three studies were included in the final review, with fifty-eight studies focusing on rugby union, while fifteen studies explored rugby sevens. Of the included studies, four focused on training—three in rugby union and one in sevens, two focused on both training and match-play in rugby union and one in rugby sevens, while the remaining sixty-six studies explored collisions from match-play. The studies included, provincial, national, international, professional, experienced, novice and collegiate players. Most of the studies used video-based analysis (n = 37) to quantify collisions. In rugby union, on average a total of 22.0 (19.0–25.0) scrums, 116.2 (62.7–169.7) rucks, and 156.1 (121.2–191.0) tackles occur per match. In sevens, on average 1.8 (1.7–2.0) scrums, 4.8 (0–11.8) rucks and 14.1 (0–32.8) tackles occur per match. Conclusions This review showed more studies quantified collisions in matches compared to training. To ensure athletes are adequately prepared for match collision loads, training should be prescribed to meet the match demands. Per minute, rugby sevens players perform more tackles and ball carries into contact than rugby union players and forwards experienced more impacts and tackles than backs. Forwards also perform more very heavy impacts and severe impacts than backs in rugby union. To improve the relationship between matches and training, integrating both video-based analysis and microtechnology is recommended. The frequency and intensity of collisions in training and matches may lead to adaptations for a “collision-fit” player and lend itself to general training principles such as periodisation for optimum collision adaptation. Trial Registration PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020191112.
Seeking to obtain a competitive advantage and manage the risk of injury, team sport organisations are investing in tracking systems that can quantify training and competition characteristics. It is expected that such information can support objective decision-making for the prescription and manipulation of training load. This narrative review aims to summarise, and critically evaluate, different tracking systems and their use within team sports. The selection of systems should be dependent upon the context of the sport and needs careful consideration by practitioners. The selection of metrics requires a critical process to be able to describe, plan, monitor and evaluate training and competition characteristics of each sport. An emerging consideration for tracking systems data is the selection of suitable time analysis, such as temporal durations, peak demands or time series segmentation, whose best use depends on the temporal characteristics of the sport. Finally, examples of characteristics and the application of tracking data across seven popular team sports are presented. Practitioners working in specific team sports are advised to follow a critical thinking process, with a healthy dose of scepticism and awareness of appropriate theoretical frameworks, where possible, when creating new or selecting an existing metric to profile team sport athletes.
Introduction The current service metrics used to evaluate quality in emergency care do not account for specific healthcare outcome goals for older people living with frailty. These have previously been classified under themes of ‘Autonomy’ and ‘Functioning’. There is no person-reported outcome measure (PROM) for older people with frailty and emergency care needs. This study aimed to identify and co-produce recommendations for instruments potentially suitable for use in this population. Methods In this systematic review, we searched six databases for PROMs used between 2010 and 2021 by older people living with frailty receiving acute hospital care. Studies were reviewed against predefined eligibility criteria and appraised for quality using the COSMIN Risk of Bias checklist. Data were extracted to map instrument constructs against an existing framework of acute healthcare outcome goals. Instrument face and content validity were assessed by lay collaborators. Recommendations for instruments with potential emergency care suitability were formed through co-production. Results Of 9392 unique citations screened, we appraised the full texts of 158 studies. Nine studies were identified, evaluating nine PROMs. Quality of included studies ranged from ‘doubtful’ to ‘very good’. Most instruments had strong evidence for measurement properties. PROMs mainly assessed ‘Functioning’ constructs, with limited coverage of ‘Autonomy’. Five instruments were considered too burdensome for the emergency care setting or too specific for older people living with frailty. Conclusions Four PROMs were recommended as potentially suitable for further validation with older people with frailty and emergency care needs: COOP/WONCA charts, EuroQol, McGill Quality of Life (Expanded), and Palliative care Outcome Scale.
Background Many elite athletes have suboptimal sleep duration and efficiency, potentially due to factors that may impact sleep onset and offset times. Variability in sleep onset and offset may negatively influence sleep. The sleep regularity index (SRI) is a novel metric for sleep regularity, however there are no published descriptions of SRI in elite athletes. Further, contributors to sleep efficiency and duration in elite athletes using objective measures have not been explored. Methods Sleep was monitored over a minimum of seven consecutive days (7 to 43)—in 203 elite team sport athletes (age range = 19–36 years; female, n = 79; male, n = 124, total sleep nights = 1975) using activity monitoring and sleep diaries. The sleep regularity index (SRI) was calculated to reflect the night-to-night shifts in sleep by accounting for changes in sleep onset and sleep offset. Sleep characteristics were compared between regular and irregular sleepers and important contributors to sleep efficiency and total sleep time were assessed using multiple linear regression models. Results The median sleep regularity index and interquartile range were 85.1 (81.4 to 88.8). When compared to irregular sleepers, regular sleepers demonstrated (1) significantly greater sleep efficiency (p = 0.006; 0.31 medium effect size [ES]), (2) significantly less variability in total sleep time (− p ≤ 0.001; − 0.69, large ES) and sleep efficiency (− 0.34, small ES), (3) similar total sleep time and (4) significantly less variation in sleep onset (p ≤ 0.001; − 0.73, large ES) and offset (p ≤ 0.001; − 0.74, large ES) times. Sleep characteristics explained 73% and 22% of the variance in total sleep time and sleep efficiency, respectively. The most important contributor to total sleep time was a later sleep offset time, while the most important contributors to sleep efficiency were an earlier bedtime and less variable sleep onset times. Conclusions Bedtime and a consistent sleep onset time are important factors associated with sleep efficiency in athletes, while sleep offset is an important factor for total sleep time. Coaches and staff can assist their athletes by providing training schedules that allow for both regularity and sufficiency of time in bed where possible.
Climate emergency is fast becoming the overriding problem of our times and rapid reductions in carbon emissions a primary policy focus that is liable to affect all aspects of society and economy. A key component in climate science is the “climate sensitivity” measure and there has been a recent attempt using Bayesian updating to narrow this measure in the interests of “firming up the science”. We explore a two stage argument in this regard. First, despite good intentions, use of Bayes sits awkwardly with uncertainty in the form of known unknowns and surprise. Second, narrowing the range may have counterproductive consequences, since the problem is anthropogenic climate change, and there are asymmetric effects from under-response in the face of irreversible and ampliative effects. As such, narrowing the range using Bayes may inadvertently violate the precautionary principle. We take from this that there is a case to be made for scenario focused decision frameworks.
The hospitality industries are fragile and have very little business in a public crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Under a difficult time, the hospitality organizations still need to keep talent employees who are critical when the business is recovered. Furlough that employers keep talent employees without variable cost, becomes a common choice among hotels. However, the potential impacts of such furlough practices on employees have rarely been investigated. By analyzing the data set from 386 furloughed UK hotel employees, the present study illustrated that the perceived costs of furlough as well as the availability of alternative opportunities resulted in career changes, and that feelings of acknowledged as a dimension of autonomy support weakened the effects of social costs on career change decisions. The findings call for more balanced furlough strategies and extend knowledge about social justice at workplace.
Disappointed by countless academic resources and personal accounts that tend to situate women of colour as the racialised other, this article aims to critique Western representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women and query the production of knowledge in British Higher Education (BHE). Engaging in self-conscious introspective narrative where our personal experiences are linked to the social, we situate this paper in duoethnographic research by linking our personal experiences to the broader social context of “Whiteness” found within British Higher Education. Using our lived experiences as an entry point, we analyse personal challenges of negotiating “Whiteness” within British Higher Education. Drawing from the notion of gender and cultural essentialism, we discuss how Western discourse typically presents Arab and other women of colour as culturally oppressed and lacking a sense of agency. We call attention to the need to embrace decolonial feminism (Lugones, 2010), where the coloniality of gender is addressed and intersectionality (Crenshaw, 1989) is appreciated as an analytical tool for the experiences of women.
English Premier League soccer players run at multiple speeds throughout a game. The aim of this study was to assess how well the duty factor, a dimensionless ratio based on temporal variables, described running styles in professional soccer players. A total of 25 players ran on an instrumented treadmill at 12, 16, and 20 km/h. Spatiotemporal and ground reaction force data were recorded for 30 s at each speed; video data (500Hz) were collected to determine footstrike patterns. In addition to correlation analysis amongst the 25 players, two groups (both N = 9) of high and low duty factors were compared. The duty factor was negatively correlated with peak vertical force, center of mass (CM) vertical displacement, and leg stiffness (kleg) at all speeds (r ≥ −0.51, p ≤ 0.009). The low duty factor group had shorter contact times, longer flight times, higher peak vertical forces, greater CM vertical displacement, and higher kleg (p < 0.01). Among the high DF group players, eight were rearfoot strikers at all speeds, compared with three in the low group. The duty factor is an effective measure for categorizing soccer players as being on a continuum from terrestrial (high duty factor) to aerial (low duty factor) running styles, which we metaphorically refer to as “grizzlies” and “gazelles,” respectively. Because the duty factor distinguishes running style, there are implications for the training regimens of grizzlies and gazelles in soccer, and exercises to improve performance should be developed based on the biomechanical advantages of each spontaneous running style.
Male academy rugby league players are required to undertake field and resistance training to develop the technical, tactical and physical qualities important for success in the sport. However, limited research is available exploring the training load of academy rugby league players. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to quantify the field and resistance training loads of academy rugby league players during a pre-season period and compare training loads between playing positions (i.e., forwards vs. backs). Field and resistance training load data from 28 adolescent male (age 17 ± 1 years) rugby league players were retrospectively analysed following a 13-week pre-season training period (85 total training observations; 45 field sessions and 40 resistance training sessions). Global positioning system microtechnology, and estimated repetition volume was used to quantify external training load, and session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) was used to quantify internal training load. Positional differences (forwards n = 13 and backs n = 15) in training load were established using a linear mixed effect model. Mean weekly training frequency was 7 ± 2 with duration totaling 324 ± 137 minutes, and a mean sRPE of 1562 ± 678 arbitrary units (AU). Backs covered more high-speed distance than forwards in weeks two (p = 0.024), and 11 (p = 0.028). Compared to the forwards, backs completed more lower body resistance training volume in week one (p = 0.02), more upper body volume in week three (p< 0.001) and week 12 (p = 0.005). The findings provide novel data on the field and resistance-based training load undertaken by academy rugby league players across a pre-season period, highlighting relative uniformity between playing positions. Quantifying training load can support objective decision making for the prescription and manipulation of future training, ultimately aiming to maximise training within development pathways.
This autoethnographic study explores the interrelationships between self‐disclosure and working as a survivor‐therapist with clients who are also survivors of sexual violence. Themes explored include post‐traumatic growth of the author in relation to two occurrences of therapy and within the training experience, the concept of sisterhood between female survivors, and impact of self‐disclosure from the survivor‐therapist. The aim was to explore how survivor‐therapist self‐disclosure might impact the therapeutic experience for clients identifying as survivors. An autoethnographic three‐phased approach was created to collate and analyse data from the author's personal and reflective journals, spanning the journey from client to qualified therapist. Themes analysed were as follows: “post‐traumatic growth,” “sisterhood” and “self‐disclosure.” This research demonstrates the value of sisterhood between female identifying survivors of sexual violence and highlights the implicit “knowing” that may deepen the therapeutic relationship where therapist self‐disclosure is used judiciously in service of the client. The research is situated in contribution to an existing dialogue, and recommendations are made for practice improvement and towards generation of ongoing research within a wider social narrative.
Introduction Young adults who have experienced periods of time being ‘in care’ are one of the most socially deprived populations within society, with their needs largely unmet and often not fully understood. Despite the significant attempts to invest in community-based ‘social prescribing’ interventions to address such health inequalities, there is a dearth of understanding regarding how such occupation-based community groups are experienced by this particular population. This UK based qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of young adult ‘Care Leavers’ regarding their participation in a socially prescribed community gardening group. Method Semi-structured online interviews were conducted with six young care leavers aged between 18 and 24 years who regularly participated in a community gardening group. Interviews were recorded transcribed verbatim and analysed Braun and Clarke’s Thematic Analysis process by two researchers to maximise validity. Findings Four key themes emerged: ‘Social belonging and connection’, ‘A safe space’, ‘Sense of achievement from active engagement’ and ‘The facilitatory aspects of nature’. The findings suggested nature-based co-occupation within a local group, enhanced social capital, self-identity and wellbeing. Conclusion This study supports the emerging scope of using community occupation-based interventions with young adult ‘Care Leavers’ and offers an insight into their particular needs.
This study aimed to determine the similarity between and within positions in professional rugby league in terms of technical performance and match displacement. Here, the analyses were repeated on 3 different datasets which consisted of technical features only, displacement features only, and a combined dataset including both. Each dataset contained 7617 observations from the 2018 and 2019 Super League seasons, including 366 players from 11 teams. For each dataset, feature selection was initially used to rank features regarding their importance for predicting a player's position for each match. Subsets of 12, 11, and 27 features were retained for technical, displacement, and combined datasets for subsequent analyses. Hierarchical cluster analyses were then carried out on the positional means to find logical groupings. For the technical dataset, 3 clusters were found: (1) props, loose forwards, second-row, hooker; (2) halves; (3) wings, centres, fullback. For displacement, 4 clusters were found: (1) second-rows, halves; (2) wings, centres; (3) fullback; (4) props, loose forward, hooker. For the combined dataset, 3 clusters were found: (1) halves, fullback; (2) wings and centres; (3) props, loose forward, hooker, second-rows. These positional clusters can be used to standardise positional groups in research investigating either technical, displacement, or both constructs within rugby league.
Background Age-associated cognitive decline may be influenced by testosterone status. However, studies evaluating the impact of bioavailable testosterone, the active, free testosterone, on cognitive function are scarce. Our study determined the relationship between calculated bioavailable testosterone and cognitive performance in older men. Methods We used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2013 and 2014. This study consisted of 208 men aged ≥ 60 years. Bioavailable serum testosterone was calculated based on the total serum testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, and albumin levels, while cognitive performance was assessed through the Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease (CERAD) Word List Learning Test (WLLT), Word List Recall Test (WLRT), and Intrusion Test (WLLT-IC and WLRT-IC), the Animal Fluency Test (AFT), and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST). Multiple linear regression analyses were performed upon adjustment for age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, education level, medical history, body mass index, energy, alcohol intake, physical activity levels and sleep duration. Results A significant positive association between bioavailable testosterone and DSST (β: 0.049, P=0.002) score was detected, with no signs of a plateau effect. No significant associations with CERAD WLLT (P=0.132), WLRT (P=0.643), WLLT-IC (P=0.979), and WLRT-IC (P=0.387), and AFT (P=0.057) were observed. Conclusion Calculated bioavailable testosterone presented a significant positive association with processing speed, sustained attention and working memory in older men above 60 years of age. Further research is warranted to elucidate the impact of the inevitable age-related decline in testosterone on cognitive function in older men.
Background: Written communication has become an increasingly important part of everyday life in social, educational and professional spheres. The substantial increase in writing via the internet and mobile technologies provides both an opportunity for social engagement and distinct challenges for people with aphasia. Within the current literature there has been limited research into the lived experiences of people with aphasia of their writing difficulties and how these affect their ability to communicate. Aims: This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of people with aphasia of living with language-related writing difficulties and the impact of these on their lives. Methods & procedures: Eight people with post-stroke aphasia and writing difficulties took part in semi-structured interviews. The interviews were analysed using inductive reflexive thematic analysis. Outcomes & results: Two themes were found in the data. The first theme was a gradual and effortful improvement to writing: Participants described how writing had improved since their stroke due to strategies and support, but they still found writing to be difficult and frustrating and described many barriers to writing. The second theme was the importance of writing for fulfilling adult social roles: Participants found writing to be important for communicating with family, friends and organizations, but their participation in society and self-esteem and confidence were impacted by writing difficulties; reduced social roles meant reduced need for writing, but participants were still motivated to work towards writing goals. Conclusions & implications: The findings demonstrate the emerging importance of writing skills for people with aphasia with respect to communication, well-being, participation and inclusion in society, and carrying out social roles. They provide an insight into the process of improvement, including the difficulties, facilitators and barriers. Implications for speech and language therapy assessment and management are discussed. What this paper adds: What is already known on the subject People with aphasia have difficulties with writing that can affect their ability to communicate. A small body of qualitative research has provided insights into individuals' experiences of literacy difficulties. More research is needed to understand the writing experiences of people with aphasia to help design appropriate assessments and interventions. What this paper adds to existing knowledge Participants experienced gradual and effortful improvement since their stroke. They felt negative about aspects of their writing, including speed, accuracy and range of vocabulary. Writing was facilitated through assistive technologies, spelling practice and support from others; barriers included technology, lack of time, stroke-related symptoms and others' lack of awareness about aphasia. Participants considered writing skills to be important, particularly for communication, carrying out adult social roles and participating in society, and were therefore still working towards goals related to everyday writing activities. What are the potential or actual clinical implications of this work? This study suggests that speech and language therapy assessment should include interviewing participants about their activities, strengths, difficulties, facilitators and barriers in writing, and informal assessment of a range of functional writing tasks. Intervention should be tailored to the individual's needs. This should include meaningful activities that relate to functional everyday writing and, where appropriate, self-management, compensatory technologies and group approaches, while making use of existing strategies identified by the individual.
There is an array of training and professional development opportunities available in the sector, yet these are coupled with increasing underfunding. In light of this, Dr Nathan Archer highlights why it is important to find a community of practice where values are shared and solidarity is on offer.
Objectives To investigate the effect of prolonged low-level laser therapy application combined with exercise on pain and disability in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Design A randomized controlled trial. Setting Special rehabilitation services. Subjects Forty-three participants with knee osteoarthritis. Intervention Following initial assessment, participants were randomly allocated to the Laser group (n = 22, 44 knees) and received low-level laser therapy while the Placebo group (n = 21, 42 knees) received placebo therapy three times a week for 3 weeks. Both groups then received low-level laser therapy combined with exercise three times a week for the following 8 weeks. Main outcome measures The primary outcome was change in knee pain and disability (Lequesne). Secondary outcomes included change in mobility (Timed Up and Go test), range of motion (goniometer), muscular strength (dynamometer), activity (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis questionnaire), and medication intake and relief. Results Mean (SD) age of participants was 63.02 (9.9) years. Pain scores at baseline, 3 weeks, 11 weeks, and 6 months follow-up were 9.1 (1.3), 2.6 (2.3), 0.2 (0.9), and 0.2 (0.8) for the Laser group and 9.5 (8.0), 7.7 (5.3), 5.6 (2.4), and 7.4 (5.0) for the Placebo group, respectively. Disability scores at baseline, 3 weeks, 11 weeks, and 6 months follow-up were 14.9 (4.7), 7.6 (4.8), 3.9 (4.2), and 3.5 (4.1) for the Laser group and 17.8 (14.7), 15.2 (11.5), 11.6 (6.4), and 15.8 (11.9) for the Placebo Group, respectively. Conclusion In participants with osteoarthritis of the knee, the isolated application of low-level laser therapy in the initial 3 weeks and combined with exercises in the final 8 weeks reduced pain, disability, and intake of medication over a 6-month period.
Background To understand the multiple and wide-ranging impacts of intensified youth sport, the need for a holistic approach to athlete development has recently been advocated. Sports schools are an increasingly popular operationalisation of intensified youth sport, aiming to offer an optimal environment for holistic development by combining sport and education. Yet, no study has systematically explored the impacts associated with sports schools. Objectives The aims of this mixed method systematic review were to (1) determine the characteristics and features of sports schools; (2) identify the methods used to evaluate sports school impacts, and (3) evaluate the positive and negative holistic athlete development impacts associated with sports school programme involvement. Methods Adhering to PRISMA guidelines, eight electronic databases were searched until the final return in February 2021. Forty-six articles satisfied the inclusion criteria, were analysed thematically, and synthesised using a narrative approach. The methodological quality of included studies was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Results Findings indicated (1) sports school student-athletes receive considerable support in terms of academic and athletic services, more intensified training and competition schedules with high-level training partners, but regularly miss school; (2) multiple methods have been used to evaluate student-athlete impacts, making comparison across studies and developing consensus on the impacts of sports schools difficult; and (3) there are a multitude of immediate, short- and long-term positive and negative impacts associated with the academic/vocational, athletic/physical, psychosocial and psychological development of sports school student-athletes. Conclusions This study is the first to systematically review the research literature to understand the impacts associated with sports schools in terms of holistic athlete development. Practitioners should be aware that they can promote (positive) and negate (negative) health impacts through the design of an appropriate learning environment that simultaneously balances multiple training, academic, psychosocial and psychological factors that can be challenging for youth athletes. We recommend that practitioners aim to design and implement monitoring and evaluation tools that assess the holistic development of student-athletes within their sports schools to ensure they are promoting all-round and healthy youth athlete development.
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Razaq Raj
  • Leeds Business School
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  • School of Clinical & Applied Science
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Leeds, United Kingdom
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https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/