Influence of recovery modalities on Neuromuscular and Endocrine function in professional rugby players (The Academic Perspective)

Student: Marc Rhys Jones
Company: Llanelli RFC Limited
Academic Supervisor: Dr Liam Kilduff & N J Owen

Characterising the Impact of Competition on Players Sleep and Recovery Profiles

The Project

Marc Rhys Jones’ PhD looked at characterising the impact of competition on players sleep and recovery profiles with his results allowing the Scarlets to have a full understanding of how to ensure their players stay in peak physical condition throughout the competitive season.

Comments by the KESS Student

“KESS was an integral part of my progression to my current role. The structure of the scheme allowed me to get the ‘best of both worlds’ by being able to learn and conduct research within a strong research group led by Dr. Liam Kilduff, and by being able to use and develop other skills at the Scarlets which have prepared me for a career in high performance sport. I am extremely grateful for the support KESS has given the last three years, especially by facilitating the opportunities for professional development which would not have otherwise been possible.”
Marc Rhys Jones, KESS Student
Subsequent position at the Scarlets: Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach

Dr Liam Kilduff, Academic Supervisor’s thoughts on KESS

KESS offers a great opportunity for both academia and businesses to work collaboratively on an
applied research project. This programme not only offers the academic a unique insight into the performance issues faced by businesses in their respective areas but also allows businesses access to academics that have the capabilities to perform research that makes a real impact on their environment.

Here at Swansea University we understand the importance of conducting research that’s fit for purpose for our partners and have developed an excellent reputation for delivering bespoke performance solutions in the area of elite sport research.

The Industrial Partner’s Perspectives

“We at Scarlets support further education and development of staff within our Performance Team” said Andrew Walker, Head of Performance, Scarlets Rugby.
“With the KESS scholarship it has allowed Rhys Jones to not only continue to develop as a strength and conditioning coach within Scarlets whilst studying, but also to secure a permanent position as Lead Backs Strength and Conditioning Coach within our Performance Team. KESS is a scholarship that we at the Scarlets value, as it not only develops methods within, through looking at cutting edge research, but also adds a valued team member to the organisation.”

Contribution to our University’s research profile

One of the main research drivers within A-STEM and Swansea University is to conduct high quality impacting research. This project is a great example of research this is conducted with one of our main industrial partners that will have real impact on their business going forward. This project has allowed Swansea University to further develop their already strong links with The Scarlets.

Impact of the Research

In the longer term this project will help Swansea University and the Scarlets to further develop their partnership on a number of strategic levels. It is also hoped that it will create future placement and employability opportunities for our students.

Engaging with external organisations

This project has allowed us to get a great insight into a high performance environment that has provided evaluable information from a teaching and research direction. As previous stated this project has also allowed us to develop on an already strong working relationship with the Scarlets.

Positives of KESS

KESS is a well-funded project that allows the academic and the business partner to work on the
main objective of the study while ensuring the student is fully supported. I think the best
part of the KESS programme is it creates an environment that fully supports the development
of a partnership between a University and a business.

New opportunities

We are very hopeful that this KESS has acted as a catalyst for further collaboration between A-STEM and the Scarlets.

Additional benefits of collaboration

Projects like this although very specific to one aspect of the business and University allows both parties to see the potential for further and much wider collaboration. It’s vital that Universities have strong industrial links to ensure the skills we are developing in our students are in-line with the requirements of our main industries and KESS always you to ensure this is the case.