Inaugural UK Sports Science and Medicine conference

Over 150 Paralympic Sports Science and Medicine practitioners gathered for the first UK High Performance Sports Science and Medicine Conference.

Hosted jointly by the BPA, the English Institute of Sport and the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, the two-day event at St George’s Park included four keynote speeches as well as smaller break-out sessions for the delegates.

The Conference aimed to unite the best British sports science and sports medicine practitioners working in Paralympic sport under one roof in order to review London 2012 and develop plans for Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

The Conference coincides with the announcement of Dr Stuart Miller in a new, joint position between the BPA and EIS as Chief Medical Officer for Paralympic sports. The position, jointly funded and supported by both organisations, will see Miller work throughout the Rio 2016 Paralympic cycle to support all Paralympic summer and winter sports.

“There is no doubt that the outcome that we would like from the conference is for the delegates, who are a number of the most knowledgeable, experienced practitioners working in Paralympic sport, to collectively identify and challenge current thinking about ways in which we can become better at our sports and ultimately win more medals”, said Georgina Sharples, Senior Manager for Sport at the BPA.

“We know that competition in Paralympic sport is increasing incredibly quickly and finishing third in the medal table in London has demonstrated to us very clearly that we face significant challenges on the road to Rio. Only by making the most of opportunities such as this do we have the potential to gain small but significant advantages over our competitors.”

Nik Diaper, Head of Sport Science and Sport Medicine For Paralympic Sports for the EIS, said:

“The conference has been very useful, in particular in terms of the quantity of ground that we have covered. We’ve talked about the challenges that we face in terms of international competition, we’ve discussed the importance of psychology as well as keeping athletes in good condition. We’ve also delved deeper into specific areas such as brain development and talent identification strategies.

“It has been a valuable two days and I hope we can turn this into an annual event.”

The conference has been funded by the Peter Harrison Foundation. Dr Vicky Tolfrey of the Peter Harrison Centre said:

“We knew from the outset that the Conference would be valuable to a variety of people working in Paralympic and disability sport, and so we knew that this was an event that we wanted to be a partner in. It’s been a great success and I am delighted that we could be involved.”

For full information on the appointment of Dr Stuart Miller, please see here.

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