APPENDIX 4: SEMINAR HELD AT THE HOUSE
OF LORDS |
5 March 2012
Members of the Committee present were: Lord Broers,
Lord Crickhowell, Baroness Hilton of Eggardon, Lord Krebs (Chairman),
Lord Patel, Baroness Perry of Southwark, Lord Rees of Ludlow,
Earl of Selborne, Lord Wade of Chorlton, Lord Warner and Lord
Winston. In attendance were Chris Atkinson (Clerk) and Rachel
Newton (Policy Analyst).
Presentation heard from Dr Scott Drawer,
Head of Research and Innovation, UK Sport
Dr Drawer outlined the key organisations within
the high performance sport science sector and the regulatory system.
He gave details of the funding, targets and objectives of the
UK high performance sport sector, specifically focusing on UK
Sport. Dr Drawer explained that responsibility for rules
and regulation lay with several bodies, not a central organisation,
and that the primary regulatory requirement was accreditation
for individuals in certain professions. He gave numbers of athletes
funded by grants. He suggested that professional athletes represent
the pinnacle of human functioning capability and that sports provide
a unique insight into the maximum capability of humans. He considered
the professional sports area to be an interesting platform for
understanding health, wellness and ageing. Dr Drawer offered
specific examples of studies, trials and innovations in the field
including cold water immersion for recovery and aerodynamic positioning
work with cyclists and wheelchair athletes. He highlighted how
high performance sports can inform other disciplines. Dr Drawer
argued that the majority of investment for high performance sport
science and medicine research (as opposed to service provision
with is funded by Government and National Lottery) often relies
upon the good will of the academic and industrial sectors. Streams
of work in sport science include equipment, coaching tools, training
science and performance medicine. He suggested that the field
is quite "young" when compared to other scientific disciplines
internationally. He identified future areas for focus as consistent
investment, and academic and industry partnership.
- The links between the high performance
sport science sector, the musical conservatoires and endocrine
researchers with regard to the psychology and physiology of performance
were discussed. It was explained that informal links existed with
endocrine researchers, through academic groups, but not with musical
- The robustness of the evidence base, primarily
in terms of scientific methodology, for sport science studies
was discussed. The specific example of enhanced recovery from
muscle stress was considered. It was suggested that there was
some variation across the literature, and that high performance
research applications can feed into mainstream research areas
such as cardiology and physiology.
- The voluntary regulation of certain disciplines
was discussed. It was suggested that some disciplines, such as
medicine and psychology, were better regulated than others.
- Long-term surveillance and experimentation were
then discussed. The specific examples of damage from boxing and
running were considered. It was explained that the collection
of this type of data was ongoing.
- Encouraging sports in schools was discussed,
including targets set by government. Sport England are responsible
for this area and have recently launched a new youth and community
- The application of high performance research
to wider people groups was discussed. It was explained that one
of the aims of the 2012 Olympic Games legacy is that it should
have applications to the wider public in terms of disease prevention
- The impact of nature and nurture on sporting
prowess was discussed. It was suggested that perhaps it was a
mix of both. Recent neuroscience studies of musicians were considered.
Studies about training capability were also considered.
Presentation from Dr David James, Senior
Sports Engineer, Centre for Sports Engineering Research, Sheffield
Dr James presented information about the global
sports industry, and figures about the economic contribution of
sports clothing and equipment to the UK's economy. He outlined
the history of sports engineering. He suggested that the UK leads
the world in this research. Dr James offered specific examples
of innovations in the field. For example, he talked about technology-based
coaching tools. He explained the concept of "technology doping".
He concluded by discussing public engagement efforts. He suggested
that performance enhancement principles could be explored, and
that the commercial base could be developed.
- The sports clothing market was
- The use of research findings for
commercial purposes was considered. Issues surrounding protection
of intellectual property rights were discussed. It was suggested
that the sector was judged by traditional research outputs and
charged relatively high fees for commercial activities. It was
further suggested that the field could develop spin-off opportunities
more. The benefits of enterprise spin-off offices were discussed.
- The motivation of sports scientists and engineers
National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine;
Transforming the nation's health with world leading sport and
Professor Myra Nimmo, Dean of the School of
Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University,
showed a video detailing the work of the East Midlands Consortium
of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine. The centre
is being led by Loughborough in partnership with Nottingham University
Hospitals NHS Trust, University of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Healthcare NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
and the University of Leicester. The video included information
on the centre's aims, facilities and examples of its research.
[discussion of the video was taken together with
discussion of the final presentation]
Presentation from Professor Fares Haddad,
Director of the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, University
College London Hospital
Professor Haddad explained that sports and exercise
medicine (SEM) applies the data from high-level performance research
to the population at large, integrates health and exercise studies,
and informs disease research. He expressed concern about funding
and explained that there is no research grant body which focuses
on exercise and health. Professor Haddad outlined training
opportunities in SEM. He discussed the potential health legacy
of the Olympics. Professor Haddad presented studies exploring
the economic costs of illnesses relating to physical inactivity.
He explained the benefits of exercise to health and wellbeing.
He outlined the role of the University College Hospital/University
College London Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health in "bridging
the gap from elite SEM services to NHS [National Health Service]
services and public health". He offered examples of the centre's
research, such as the impact of altitude on performance. Professor Haddad
argued that the London 2012 Olympics presented opportunities for
improving elite athlete and amateur care, optimising the translation
of science into clinical delivery, and supporting the exercise
medicine agenda for wellness, disease prevention and disease management.
He identified areas for improvement as specific undergraduate
SEM training for medical students, funding for the whole area,
commissioning exercise as a treatment, the impact of exercise
public health campaigns, and improving activity levels and health.
- The application of sports medicine
to non-elite athletes was discussed.
- The speciality of joint replacement was considered.
It was argued that drive and motivation explain the difference
between the response to injury of elite athletes and others.
- The legacy of SEM following the Olympics was
considered. The translation of SEM to wider public health benefits
- Strategies and efforts to encourage children
to exercise were then discussed.
- The health benefits of exercise were considered.