Podium Analytics is working in partnership with the University of Bath to undertake a two-year research project aimed at better understanding and managing adolescent growth (known as growth spurt) in relation to youth sport health.
The growth spurt is a factor that uniquely affects 11 to 18-year-olds and is consistently identified as a period that puts young people at increased risk of sport injury. Work is being undertaken at elite level and in well-resourced schools and clubs to address this issue, but little is currently delivered, or often known, at grassroots level. Podium and the leading academics at the University of Bath, who bring a strong track record for applied sports science, aim to bring the proven processes and protocols that exist in elite pathways into the school and grassroots sports environment.
The partnership aims to improve the practical knowledge and confidence of teachers and coaches at all levels to recognise and manage the growth spurt and its challenges through the provision of guidance and information that has previously only been accessible at elite level. There is a further opportunity to develop readily available guidance that will help young people recognise the signs of growth spurt and listen to their bodies to prevent injury, and to give parents insight into what their children are experiencing.
The two-year partnership between Podium and the University of Bath aims to improve knowledge and appropriate training provision that will reduce injury, better evaluate pupils’ physical ability and help young players reach their true potential. It will:
- Develop and implement appropriate policy and guidance for the measurement of growth and maturation in secondary school pupils.
- Develop educational materials and sessions for teachers on the prevention and identification of growth-related injuries in youth and how to provide developmentally appropriate training through the growth spurt.
- Support schools, clubs and pathways that are using Podium’s injury management platform, who will eventually benefit from an additional growth and maturation module that enables the predication, assessment and management of growth spurt.
The University’s Sean Cumming, Professor in Paediatric Exercise Science, and Sean Williams, Senior Lecturer in Applied Statistics and Research Methods, will be leading this project. Both are also involved with the new International Olympic Committee Research Centre based at the universities of Edinburgh and Bath that will focus on injury prevention in sport, drawing on long-standing research expertise in this area from both institutions.