Auckland University of Technology Rugby Codes Research Group
Honorary Research Associate
Doctoral student in musculoskeletal epidemiology, specialising in long-term health and sports participation
My DPhil has involved collecting data to establish long-term health, the prevalence of morbidities, and risk factors for osteoarthritis in former elite rugby union participants.
The study has been developed with players central to informing the research cycle and agenda. The aims of the study have been to establish where health benefits and deficits may be occurring amongst former athletes, in order to encourage informed and healthy participation in elite and recreational sport.
To date over 350 former rugby players have been recruited, and analyses have been undertaken and presented at International conferences, exploring health-related quality of life and physician-diagnosed morbidity in this population, compared with population-based survey participants. Further analyses will identify risk factors for and predict osteoarthritis-related outcomes in this population.
Future study direction includes the recruitment of recreational participants, follow-up studies of participants to validate self-report findings, imaging, and further mechanistic analyses that may identify contributing factors to the acquisition of poor health within former sports people.
My individual research agenda moving forwards will broaden into other sporting populations in order to identify further population-specific influences on health status, and encourage healthy participation in physical activity for all individuals irrespective of inherent and acquired risk factors.
Prior to the DPhil, my first degree was in Sport and Exercise Science, and I worked in University research posts within Clinical Trials in Paediatrics, and as a Laboratory Technician and Anthropometrist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
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Woyton MM. et al, (2018), Bmj case rep, 2018