Canterbury University PhD candidate researching mouthguards with Crusaders

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Oct 13, 2021 |

Photo: Hamish Dewar: Canterbury University

University of Canterbury PhD candidate Hamish Dewar is taking the humble mouthguard to the next level.

He is applying his Health Sciences doctoral research in the Crusaders’ Strength and Conditioning department to use mouthguards to measure impacts and collisions on the field, and ultimately help players prepare better for their next game. 

As a Masters student, Hamish participated in the University of Canterbury and Crusaders Internship Programme. 

After graduating with a Bachelor of Sport Coaching and a Master of Sport Science with Distinction, Hamish is now investigating new ways of monitoring player workloads. His PhD research aims to investigate the demands of match play, so players are training and recovering in ways that ensure they can perform at their best on game day. 

“Basically, what I’m doing is trying to measure impacts and collisions on the field. We’re doing more than just counting the number of contacts, such as a tackle or a ruck – we’re trying to understand what’s actually happening at the collision, because no two contacts are the same. We are using accelerometers to measure the forces of impacts out on the field to give us the data we require. With access to this data, we can look at and assess it, then train players to best prepare them for their next game.”

“We’re trying to better understand what’s currently happening, and then enhance the knowledge we have to apply it in slightly different ways. It’s about gradual modification to help the team play better each time.” 

Before Super Rugby pre-season ramps up again for next season, Hamish is working with the Canterbury NPC team until late November, as he continues work on his PhD. In future he hopes to stay at the forefront of the sports science industry as it grows.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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