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Thunder and MMU in “groundbreaking partnership”

The investigation between Thunder and Manchester Metropolitan University will look at the effect of hormones on performance and injury in elite women athletes in a ground-breaking partnership

The effect of hormones on performance, injury, and recovery will be investigated in a unique partnership bringing sports researchers and elite women athletes together.

The project will focus on the link between hormones and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries in women, which research has shown in some sportswomen are two to eight times more likely to suffer than men.

Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport will work with players at the current and four-time Netball Super League champions Manchester Thunder, in a co-funded project leading the field of elite female sports science research.

Kirsty Elliott-Sale, Professor of Female Endocrinology and Exercise Physiology at Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport, said: “This partnership is an amazing opportunity for us to study elite female athletes in their own sporting environment.

“We hope that by conducting research directly on the intended end-users we can advance women’s sport in a relatively short timeframe. By embedding research directly within the club, Manchester Thunder identifies itself as an innovative and world-leading organisation.”

Gary Young, Strategy Development Director of Manchester Thunder, added: “We’re delighted to have this opportunity to push the boundaries of research in the traditionally under-represented and under-funded area of elite women’s sport research.

“This agreement builds on the strategic partnership we jointly announced with Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport in April 2021 and forms yet another step on our journey to establishing the North West as world leaders in the development and support of netball talent.”

The project will see university researchers working alongside Manchester Thunder Head Coach Karen Greig and the players in their regular training and matchday routines.

Players will also be analysed in the specialist facilities at Manchester Metropolitan’s Institute of Sport to establish how hormones may be affecting performance, injury and recovery, with a particular focus on ACL injuries.

This type of injury has continued to impact netballers at all levels, including in recent years Manchester Thunder’s very own Amy Carter, Elia McCormick and Yasmin Roebuck.

The joint doctoral research project will begin in April 2023.

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