The interplay between mental health, mental illness, sport culture, and athletic performance in Olympic and Paralympic sport

Mental health is increasingly being recognized as a key component of elite athletes’ overall functioning and sport performance. Globally, research on antecedents (e.g., sport culture) and consequences (e.g., athletic performance) of mental health and illness in elite athlete populations is growing. However, little is known about the relationship between mental health, mental illness, sport culture, and athletic performance in the Canadian high-performance sport context.

Enhancing exercise adherence in people with persistent musculoskeletal pain using a behaviour change approach

Persistent pain is pain that is prolonged beyond normal healing time, usually defined as three months. Approximately one in five Canadians suffer from persistent pain conditions such as low back pain, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. These conditions account for $43-60 billion in healthcare costs. Prescribed exercise has been shown to decrease pain while increasing function and quality of life, however over half of patients with persistent pain do not adhere to the exercises they have been prescribed.

A multiplatform comparison of blood biomarkers in concussion research

Blood biomarkers have been an invaluable tool in concussion research. Through their use, we have improved our knowledge on the processes that occur in the brain and body following injury and have seen promise for future implementation in a clinical setting to inform injury severity, type, and treatment responses. However, many different biomarker technologies exist, and it is not clear to what extent they may differ, or whether results derived from them can be compared. Hence, validation is needed.

Evaluating the Quality of Special Olympics Canada’s Active Start and FUNdamentals Programs

The proposed research project aims to better enable positive sport experiences for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities by improving the quality of sports programs offered. In order to accomplish this objective, the study will evaluate the quality of two sport programs - Active Start and FUNdamentals - within the largest intellectual and developmental disability sport organization in Canada, Special Olympics.

UPnGO with ParticipACTION: Evaluating the evolution of a national workplace physical activity initiative – Part 2

In order to improve the health and work productivity of Canadians, ParticipACTION developed a rewards-based, PA tracking intervention called UPnGO with ParticipACTION. The UPnGO program aims to increase the amount of PA and decrease the amount of sedentary activities throughout the workday. This program was released to the public in Fall of 2017, however, program participation hasn’t been as successful as we would like, and participants are not getting the PA benefits the program is designed to achieve. We are working to redesign the program to address these issues.

Transitioning to adulthood: Implementing a modified CO-OP approach to improve the occupational performance of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

There is a current lack of evidence-based, client-centred interventions to support youth with ASD in developing their life skills necessary for their successful transition to adulthood. The Cognitive Orientation to Daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) approach is a client-centred, meta-cognitive intervention that supports skill acquisition through the use of global and domain specific cognitive strategies. Preliminary research has shown the promise of using the CO-OP approach with youth with ASD in achieving motor-based, social and organizational goals.

Cognitive and Physical Demands of Using Ergonomic Spinner Knobs

Howell ventures, located in Fredericton, is a leading company in North America for designing and producing driving aids. Driving aids, such as “remote spinner knobs” enable individuals who have physical limitations (due to structural, traumatic, or pathological reasons) who want to maintain their independence by driving their vehicles. The purpose of the study is to identify a remote spinner knob design that reduces cognitive and physical demands while driving.

Redefining Fatigue: considerations for the calculation of critical power

Humans have a finite capacity for hard exercise. Sports scientists can mathematically determine this capacity by using multiple tests to exhaustion at different exercise intensities and looking at the relationship. However, the current testing protocols assume that once the initial point of fatigue is reached, exercise must be stopped. In the proposed study, we aim to quantify the ability of an athlete to perform work after reaching that initial point of fatigue by gradually decreasing the work rate.

Altitude & Heat - environmental synergies to optimize human performance - Year two

The environmental stress of altitude and heat have both been shown to elicit divergent adaptive responses and are used by elite athletes to augment training adaptation and subsequent performance. Indeed, 3-4 weeks at moderate altitudes can increase the body’s natural erythropoietin (EPO) responses, raising hemoglobin by 4-6% and enhancing endurance performance. Conversely, as little as 5-7 days of exercise induced heat acclimation can increase blood volume by 5-10%, resulting in increased tolerance to heat, increased VO2max /cardiac output and improve endurance performance as well.

Using a dynamic moment of inertia to increase bat speed in baseball players using the “Pro-Impusle swing trainer”

The common method of training and warming-up in baseball is by using weighted disks that are added to the player’s baseball bats. The current scientific evidences showed that the use of these devices doesn’t improve the performances of the players and actually slows down their swing speed and batted ball speed. Our partner developed a new device that focuses on increasing the swing speed in rotational sports such as baseball. The prototype uses elastics to allow a variable resistance and some timing aspect to the player’s training.

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