Department for Health

Student blogs

Many of our students keep a blog during their placement year to share their experiences away from Bath. You can view some of their entries here.

View some of our blog entries

Assisting a revolution of rugby analysis

Mathilde Rogers – Placement at St Mary’s University College (Twickenham)

BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science

In this post, I am going to talk about one of the PhD student’s study: The biomechanics of rugby kicking. Alex will measure the kinetics and kinematics of kicking of international rugby players as well as provide a mathematical model of the rugby ball trajectory after a kick. This latter element should predict if the ball will go through the rugby posts after having being kicked by a player. Ideally, it would be like the software used in tennis to verify the exact location of the landing of a ball on the court. Read more »

All for the love of feet…

Emily Gregg - Placement at Foot and Ankle Biomechanics Department (University of Salford, Manchester)

BSc (hons) Sport and Exercise Science

Working as a research fellow at the University of Salford has really allowed me to put my skills already developed at Bath to practical use alongside helping me to learn new skills and work with different equipment. I’m working in the foot and ankle biomechanics department, meaning that everything is very feet related… to some people I imagine this would be their worst nightmare, but for some reason it is a big interest of mine which is why I think I am enjoying my time here so much! Read more »

 
See more student blogs

Some of our students in other departements have also been blogging during their placement year. Find out what they have been getting up to. View blogs »

 

Assisting a revolution of rugby analysis

In this post, I am going to talk about one of the PhD student's study: The biomechanics of rugby kicking.

Before starting, I think it is important to define some key words for those of you who aren’t in the sports science field. Biomechanics is the study of the forces acting on a body or object (a ball for example) and the effects produced by these forces. More precisely, kinematics focuses on the description of the motion of a body while kinetics explains how those movements are created.

In this post, I am going to talk about one of the PhD student's study: The biomechanics of rugby kicking. Alex will measure the kinetics and kinematics of kicking of international rugby players as well as provide a mathematical model of the rugby ball trajectory after a kick. This latter element should predict if the ball will go through the rugby posts after having being kicked by a player. Ideally, it would be like the software used in tennis to verify the exact location of the landing of a ball on the court.

I have been assisting in a number of testing sessions so far. During an outdoor session on the rugby pitch, 30 kicks performed by a university player were recorded by five cameras (including high speed cameras). My role was particular important on that day as I had to press "record" and "stop" on 30 different occasions (Hardtimeforplacementstudent). These data are necessary to investigate the ball trajectory and verify where the ball actually lands. It was also important to take into consideration environmental conditions (weather conditions, gravity, air resistance). These measurements will subsequently be included in her final mathematical model.
Setting the cameras Setting the cameras

However our main testing sessions have been carried out in a lab using a very sophisticated software called "Vicon Motus" which is composed of 11 cameras placed at particular location synchronized with a force plate (An instrument measuring the forces that a body/object apply on the floor). It works in combination with a number of reflective markers located on special anatomical landmarks and/or other material, in this case the rugby ball. When the actions are executed, for example a rugby kick, the cameras track the markers’ displacements and the movements are recreated by the software. Another  study was performed on International Rugby players in order to practice and test the set-up and equipment which also provided some technical data to their coach. If you were wondering how it is possible to kick inside the lab with some very expensive material, a net is used to stop the ball.
In the lab using Vicon

I am more involved in helping out during the testing session rather than the actual analysis of the data but I enjoy taking part in this project.What has been done so far is considered as a preparation but the best is expected to come with the main participants coming later on during the year.

Posted: October 18, 2012

All for the love of feet…

I thought I would write this blog entry based more around how I ended up here, my placement is similar to others on my course, linked to my job and the environment I am working in, but the main subject area is slightly different in some respects. Working as a research fellow at the University of Salford has really allowed me to put my skills already developed at Bath to practical use alongside helping me to learn new skills and work with different equipment. I’m working in the foot and ankle biomechanics department, meaning that everything is very feet related… to some people I imagine this would be their worst nightmare, but for some reason it is a big interest of mine which is why I think I am enjoying my time here so much!

I guess that when it came to looking for placements I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do, podiatry had always been a career aspiration, even before applying to Bath, but I still applied to a variety of placements ranging from working in a school to performance analysis, I even got offered a couple but I still wasn’t sure (now I know I made the right decision).

I was not sure whether I would find a placement linked to podiatry, I did a lot of research and worked out that if I went to work in a private practice I would probably take on the role of receptionist so to speak (stereotypical intern.. making the tea) as I am not qualified. The idea of working in a research environment came from one of my lecturers; this would allow me to get hands on experience working on a variety of projects and also work alongside some podiatrists – bettering both my sport science and podiatry understanding. I did my research and got in touch with my supervisor here at Salford explaining what I wanted to do, he invited me for an ‘interview’ and it went from there. That’s how I ended up here in Manchester (as a bonus my supervisor might be able to organise some work ’shadowing’, for me in the New Year).

What I’m trying to say is, that if you are currently thinking about doing/looking for a placement then always try to find one which interests you. There is such a wide range of placements organised by Bath that to most people this won’t be an issue (it may even become tempting to just go and do something that you don’t really care that much about) but if, like me, you have a different interest, then do pursue it, it is worth it! I think the main aim of my placement is to work out what I would like to do in the future. Whether this is to go and study podiatry after I graduate or whether I want to carry on my education and complete a masters, hopefully at some point before the end of my placement I will know which route I want to take.

Anyway back to my placement, since my first blog I have been really busy developing an idea for my own study which should be underway in the New Year. As a general overview of the project I will be looking at ‘the effect of foot orthoses’ and whether there is a significant difference between the effects of prefabricated and custom made during the walking gait cycle. There is a large debate about this in the literature which has been on-going over the last few years, so I feel this is an important research issue to approach. I am also excited about learning to make custom orthotics, using two different methods and some very expensive equipment such as CAD-CAM software (I always knew making that plastic perfume bottle in year 9 using CAD-CAM would come in useful). I will be collecting kinematic data using a 16 camera Qualisys system alongside a Pedar in-shoe pressure system which I have already become competent using.

19 December 2012