Bath researchers’ scrummaging design shortlisted for national design award

Academics from the Department for Health have been shortlisted for a national design award for equipment they developed to measure the impact of the rugby scrum.

Dr Ezio Preatoni, Dr Dario Cazzola, Dr Grant Trewartha, Dr Keith Stokes and Andreas Wallbaum are shortlisted for the Graphical System Design Achievement Awards 2013, which is hosted by National Instruments.

They entered the bespoke equipment they devised for carrying out measurements in their project, ‘The Biomechanics of the Rugby Scrum’.

The three-year project, led by Dr Grant Trewartha was funded by the International Rugby Board and has contributed to recent changes in the law of scrummaging.

Their research aimed to understand forces and motion during scrummaging, with a view to establishing safer engagement techniques. The findings from the project have supported the decision to change the laws of scrummaging, and implement a new engagement sequence which has gone global this competitive season.

The system was devised to measure movements and loads on players during scrummaging and is innovative because it integrates multiple measuring devices that can synchronously collect data.

It allows the experiment to be carried out under conditions that mimic accurately actual scrummaging either during training or during live contested scrummaging. The measures can be taken outdoor, on natural turf, as in standard training conditions.

The award ceremony will take place 19 November at The Royal Academy of Engineering in Prince Philip House in London.

Dr Cazzola and Dr Preatoni will attend will attend the gala dinner on behalf of the group.

Dr Preatoni said: “We are very honoured for this recognition and excited to attend the prize ceremony. All the measurements required by this research were performed out of a controlled environment such as a research laboratory. The challenge was to record scientifically valid data, but trying to replicate as realistically as possible the actual conditions players are used to while scrummaging.

"It has been excellent team work, which has received important input by other people including colleagues from Mechanical Engineering and many colleagues in the Department for Health. We are very happy about the results achieved and the recognition that both the scientific and sports community have given us for our work."

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