‘Research informed practice’ is a term that we often hear in sports science and sports medicine and we strive to ensure that research underpins our athlete support work. But the reality on the ground can be somewhat removed from what you find in research papers containing highly controlled studies. Athletes more often than not don’t care about your latest research paper and it is challenging to translate research findings in practical advice for athletes. Genetic differences between athletes, environmental and circumstantial differences and of course individual motivations and preferences mean that our sports science support work has to be flexible. Apps and platforms, even more so, since the user can be largely anonymous. That said, research provides the backdrop, the evidence base, the inspiration to select the most appropriate intervention, and the methodological approaches needed to provide valid insights and to evaluate interventions.
Research is a crucial cog in Orreco’s machinery, mission and identity. Orreco was born from Dr Brian Moore’s PhD work under the legendary late Professor Craig Sharp. Professor John Newell’s research provides advanced data science often missing from sport science, finding meaningful signals in vast real-world datasets and bringing them to life with dynamic dashboards. Dr Nathan Lewis’s PhD work underpins Orreco’s redox tools for internal load monitoring, one part of an arsenal of techniques to avoid fatigue via biomarker monitoring; Dr Georgie Bruinvels’ PhD work was the starting point for Orreco’s female athlete program. Ongoing research publications from the team reveal the constant drive to deliver new peer-reviewed scientific papers.
Strides are being made in the science of athlete monitoring, both male and female, as the tools we have at our disposal are validated, implemented and refined. To date, Orreco has supported several PhD students through to completion in sports science and data science. The female athlete is one area where there is clear need for research  and Orreco has already invested a seven-figure sum in female athlete research and a female athlete product suite including the free FitrWoman app. At this point Orreco has committed to investing further in new female athlete research.
The new research investment will fund research at several institutions starting with the University of Waikato (in partnership with High Performance Sport New Zealand), led by Professor HollyThorpe, to study cultural and sociological themes surrounding the implementation of technological solutions related to the menstrual cycle in elite sport. Dana Alloy MSc joins the Orreco team fresh from a Masters degree at the Institute of Women’s Health atUCL to investigate interdisciplinary sports science and sports medicine care pathways for female athletes. More funded PhD opportunities will be announced in the coming weeks/months.
1. Bruinvels G, Burden RJ, McGregor AJ, et al. Sport, exercise and the menstrual cycle:where is the research? Br J Sports Med2017; 51(6): 487-8.