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WiSH Research

As a recognised Research Group of the University of the Witwatersrand, the vision of WiSH Research is

“To create an active and winning nation through excellence in physical activity, exercise and sports-related research with impact”.

The WiSH Research pillar is concerned with research into physical activity, exercise and sports, which would in turn have a significant impact both locally and globally. The research agenda of WiSH-R is in direct alignment with the University of the Witwatersrand’s vision “to be a globally-leading research-intensive university and a gateway to research, engagement and intellectual achievement in Africa”. WiSH-R underpins two strategic objectives, which arise from the Wits Vision 2022, namely: to produce research with impact, and to foster a swift, secure and stimulating postgraduate experience. In addition to being globally competitive, the WiSH-R vision depicts its locally responsive nature in that it also closely relates to the vision of Sport and Recreation South Africa namely “An active and winning nation”.

Research Priority Areas

WiSH Research tackles clinically-relevant research questions with the potential to create a locally responsive impact and globally competitive opportunities. Our research includes communities from different spheres and addresses the research needs throughout the lifespan while being true to our local South African and African context.  In the same line, we value ground-breaking research meeting and exceeding international standards. Through effective knowledge translation, we are creating an impact where it is most needed. WiSH Research is aware of the performance-enhancement needs of the athlete and our sports-related research underpins this value. The WiSH Research Priority Areas encompass the entire spectrum of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) where we explore impairments, functional limitations and participation restrictions within considering the influence of environmental and other contextual factors.        

 

The following research priority areas have been determined:

  • Non-communicable disease prevention and rehabilitation: A lifestyle creating wellness
  • Injury & illness surveillance, prevention, management & rehabilitation (includes a major focus on concussion)
  • Paediatric physical activity, exercise and sport
  • Geriatric medicine and exercise
  • Women’s health and exercise
  • Human movement analysis and intervention
  • Genetics in sports
  • Sports code specific research

 

A comprehensive consultation process was followed to determine our research priority areas. Our research priority areas are also aligned with the goals of the South African Department of Health and the Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR), as well as local and international priority areas including the Sustainable Development Goals, South Africa’s Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Grand Challenges.

 

WiSH Clinical Research Initiatives

The WiSH Research pillar is exploring the structures available to support research in the clinical area. If you are interested in leading a research project in your clinical setting, please complete this brief survey. https://redcap.link/73gjulsw

Collaboration

WiSH Research believes that “together we will achieve more”.

Feel free to contact the WiSH Research Director at Benita.Olivier@wits.ac.za in the quest to explore the potential for collaboration

WiSH Researchers
NameDesignation and AffiliationResearch Speciality Area

Prof Benita Olivier

Professor, Physiotherapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand Human movement analysis and sports injury prevention

Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Visiting associate professor, School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand Concussion, Tendinopathy, Rugby and Youth Sports

Dr Brad Gelbart

Orthopaedic surgeon, Linksfield Park Medical Centre, Linksfield, Johannesburg and School of Clinical Medicine Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus injuries

Mr Siyabonga Kunene

Lecturer, Physiotherapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Sports injury prevention

Prof Hellen Myezwa

Head of School Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Research methodology service delivery and HIV rehabilitation

Dr Corlia Brandt

Senior Lecturer, Physiotherapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand Sport neuromusculoskeletal, pelvic and women's health

Ms Faye Sinnett

Lecturer, Occupational Therapy Department, School of Therapeutic Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand Concussion, injury management and occupation

Dr Loveth Obiora

Hillel Friedland Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Public Health, especially women and children's health, human movement research

 

Current and Ongoing Research Projects

Research Priority Area: Injury & illness surveillance, prevention, management & rehabilitation (includes a major focus on concussion)

 

Injury

Occupational Therapy Intervention for Concussion

The focus of this project is to develop an intervention guide for occupational therapists for the treatment of sports-related concussion. This project will work together with a multidisciplinary team to develop the role of occupational therapists in sports-related concussion, develop appropriate interventions for occupational dysfunction post-concussion and guidelines for facilitating the return to learning process.

WiSH Researcher: Faye Sinnett https://www.wits.ac.za/staff/academic-a-z-listing/s/fayesinnettwitsacza/

 

International Concussion in Sports Group Systematic Review and Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport

International collaboration to review published research in the field of sports-related concussion and publish an updated (6th) international consensus.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

The Sports Concussion Office Assessment Tool

Development of a clinical office tool for clinicians in the diagnosis, assessment and management of sports-related concussion.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

International Olympic Committee Prevention, detection and management of concussion in rugby: Evaluation of multisystem involvement

A multi-centre international collaboration to evaluate the efficacy of specific physiotherapy and vestibular interventions in concussion management.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Exploratory mRNA Biomarker Study in Youth Athletes, Professional Male and Female Rugby Players

To characterize the sncRNA profiles in buccal swab samples of youth athletes, professional male and female rugby players with mild, moderate and severe TBI during the 3 months post-injury. 

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

An evaluation of anxiety and depression as modifying factors for clinical presentation and outcome in sport-related-concussion (SRC) in South African adolescents.

This study aims to determine whether anxiety and depression impacts i) susceptibility ii) clinical presentation and iii) prognosis as reported by a male and female adolescent population in South Africa. In addition, this study aims to develop a questionnaire to determine how prevalent anxiety and depression are in the population investigated.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

The role of exercise in the management of concussion in youth rugby

This study aims to determine whether a specific pre-activity exercise protocol reduce the incidence of concussion in youth rugby players and to establish the role of exercise in the recovery phase to facilitate a quicker return to sport, its role post-concussion to reduce symptom severity and the role of exercise post-concussion to prevent repeated concussions.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Sports-related Concussion: Critically assessing the comprehension, collaboration and contribution of chiropractors

An evaluation of the chiropractic profession’s contribution to this global, multiple sport and interdisciplinary process.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

 

Illness

Athletes With Acute Respiratory Infection - The AWARE Study.

A multicentre international collaborative study led by SEMLI is leading in collaboration with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FIFA, World Rugby and a number of national and international research institutions. The purpose of the study is to better understand the health impact of respiratory tract infections, including COVID-19, in athletes. 

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Pitch side emergency care and personal protective equipment: a framework for elite sport during the COVID-19 pandemic

Collaborative guidance document developed by The Football Association (FA) UK, The English Rugby Football League, The Scottish Football Association, The English Rugby Football Union,  The Lawn Tennis Association, The British Horse Racing Association, The Welsh Rugby Union,  English Premiership Rugby, Scottish Rugby, The English Institute of Sport, The Scottish Institute of Sport, Wits Sport and Health (WiSH), South Africa. Aimed at guiding healthcare workers involved in on-field care in elite sport.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Medical Care and first aid: a framework for organised non-elite sport during the COVID-19 pandemic

Collaborative guidance document developed by The English  Football Association, The English Rugby Football League (RFL), The Scottish Football Association,  The Lawn Tennis Association, The Welsh Rugby Union,  Scottish Rugby, supported by these UK and international SEM bodies The English Institute of Sport, The Scottish Institute of Sport, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), The South African Rugby Union (SARU) and the Wits Sport and Health (WiSH), South Africa. Aimed at guiding healthcare workers involved in on-field care in non-elite sport.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

 

Research Priority Area: Women’s Health and Exercise

An integrated model for Women`s health in South Africa

To maximise effective service delivery and higher education in Pelvic and Women`s Health, a recent clinical commentary was considered suggesting that excellence and innovation should be driven by interaction between the different healthcare sectors, education and clinical practice; including input from a patient perspective to specialist opinions, and shared leadership (Jensen et al 2017).

This project focuses on developing such a service delivery model to address pelvic floor dysfunction and any aspect related to women`s health in South Africa, including different healthcare sectors and higher education institutions, and a mix of staff, student and patient skills. The aim is to improve patient care and the wellness of women by capturing patient data on a database and examining the clinical outcomes of the implemented inter-professional model. This project therefore includes the investigation of educational needs, current structures in healthcare systems, and clinical trials focussing on epidemiology, biomechanics, quality of life, and interventions covering any aspect related to pelvic or women`s health or wellness.

WiSH Researcher: Dr Corlia Brandt

 

Research Priority Area: Human movement analysis and intervention

The Glocal Human Movement Matrix Project

The vision of the Glocal Human Movement Matrix or the “Movement Matrix” project is to optimise the utilisation of human movement data in Africa to enable the population to gain the vital health benefits related to physical activity. Through the Movement Matrix project, we aim to prevent and remediate physical impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions through research that analyses human movement, and also to conduct clinical interventions into human movement. The researchers and clinicians involved in the Movement Matrix project are striving to extend the body of information pertaining to both basic and applied sciences that would ultimately have an impact on and translate into change in real-life situations within the African context.

WiSH Researcher: Prof Benita Olivier

Wits Physiotherapy Movement Analysis Laboratory

The Wits Physiotherapy Movement Analysis Laboratory, Movement Lab in short, supports a wide range of research-related programmes for the biomechanical analysis of human movement. Find more information here: https://www.wits.ac.za/therapeuticsciences/physiotherapy/research/human-movement-analysis/

WiSH Researcher: Prof Benita Olivier

 

Research Priority Area: Sports code specific research

Cycling

Cycling-specific extension of the International Olympic Committee consensus statement - methods for recording and reporting of epidemiological data on injury and illness in sport 2020.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Football

A retrospective analysis of injuries and illnesses in the Premier Soccer League and National First Division after the COVID-19 lock down resumption.

WiSH Researcher: Assoc Prof Jon Patricios

Cricket

The Fearless Fast Bowling project started off with a focus on fast bowling health, but soon expanded to include the wellbeing of all cricketers. Through this project we are investigating factors associated with injury in cricketers. Injury surveillance, workload monitoring, and movement and performance analysis are some of the constructs of interest.

WiSH Researcher: Prof Benita Olivier

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