Jamie Coffey is a third-year physiotherapist for Scotland’s Women Lead National Team and a well-respected industry expert. Coffey combines experience, skill, and technology to elevate women in sports. By leveraging scientific data collected during training and on game day, Coffey is providing a pathway to success and reducing potential injury.
Detecting positional differences
Through Catapult wearables, Coffey is able to analyze and break down the physical requirements needed for each team member’s position. With the data Coffey gathers, he is able to contribute to the strategic decisions about positions, placement, training and games. For example, Coffey is able to determine which positions on the rugby field have a higher potential of injury and the types of injuries most prominent in each position, in addition to what specific key skills are necessary for every position including speed and endurance.
These distinct findings and understandings gained through Catapult’s injury-audit data have helped inform team decisions and reduce injuries. By breaking down the gameplay of when and where injuries were happening, it was revealed that the majority of time-loss injuries occurred in the final quarter. Furthermore, the data highlighted that fatigue drastically increased the potential of injury. So what did Coffey do with this knowledge?
Coffey put the findings to work, saying, “this highlights the importance of ensuring that training replicates worst-case scenarios a player may be exposed to in a game setting.” For Coffey, preventing injury does not happen on game day, it happens through habitual training during practice every single day using advanced data.
Unfortunately, concussions are the most frequent injuries in women’s rugby and in recent years the numbers are climbing. However, Coffey’s teams have seen major decreases in their concussions due in part to the preventive measures that he is making based on the intel provided through Catapult’s wearable devices.
Most industry experts believe the trajectory of women’s rugby is highly susceptible to the increasing rate of concussion and there must be wide-sweeping changes to ensure safety for all players. In practical application, Coffey is preventing concussions in part through cervical isometric exercises. Specifically, by strengthening the head and neck area Coffey believes you are less susceptible to being concussed. Using wearable technology devices, Coffey is able to test his player’s neck strength and flexibility, closely monitoring the numbers and creating player-specific training regimens.
“Prevention is performance” according to Coffey and by using Catapult wearable devices they are able to simulate gameday-like practices to ensure that they are prepared physically.
Rise of women’s rugby
Although Women’s rugby is on the rise, Coffey would like to see an increase in female-focused research. Much of the data on concussions and injury in professional sports is focused on male recovery/prevention, and that data is not wholly transferable to female athletes. There needs to be more people like Coffey who help elevate women in sports, bringing recognition, performance and safety to the front line.