The sky’s the limit in high-tech sports building

November 10, 2011

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Murdoch University unveiled a state-of-the-art new building for the School of Chiropractic and Sports Science on Thursday, November 10.

The $4 million building contains an impressive array of equipment including a performance lab complete with a 50m running track and a 14m by 4m screen for projecting life-size simulation and biomechanical imaging.

School Dean, Associate Professor Brian Nook, said that the introduction of Sports Science and Exercise Physiology programs in 2007 created the need for more facilities.

“Our chiropractic students already had an extensive outpatient clinic but we needed to expand the exercise rehabilitation facilities,” Dr Nook said.

“The new building will ensure that our graduates are highly-trained and will gain valuable hands-on experience using the latest equipment.”

The new facilities open the doors to a wealth of research opportunities, not just in the sporting arena but for industry as well.

“The focus of our School is prevention and performance at all levels of the activity, enabling people to perform at their optimum in the workplace as well as on the sports field,” Dr Nook said.

The exercise physiology lab features equipment for testing metabolic rates, lung capacity, heart rates and blood and tissue samples, as well as a specifically designed thermal chamber that can raise the temperature to above 55 degrees Celsius.

“This will enable us to look at the effects of elevated body temperature on exercise, physical activity and in the workplace,” Dr Nook said.

“We are already undertaking research with support from BHP Billiton to consider how we can best assist the workforce in WA’s high heat areas, especially in the state’s north and mining sites to combat heat stress and other illnesses.

“This work can also be applied to athletes, for example cricketers who play in extreme temperatures for long periods of time.”

The building also features a strength, conditioning and rehabilitation lab with a complete suite of exercise equipment, free standing weights and weight machines that will be utilised for teaching, research and evaluation and consultation for workers, athletes and teams.

The performance lab includes a projection and surround sound audio system worth in excess of $150,000 and force plates under the running track which measure force and resistance.

“The track force plates enable us to see where the most pressure is placed by the athlete, and this helps us to determine ways to prevent injuries and improve performance,” Dr Nook said.

The launch of the new building ties in well with the strong partnership that was formed earlier this year between Murdoch and the WA Cricket Association.  Under the partnership Murdoch now has an international grade cricket pitch that is used by representative teams. The new facilities will enhance collaboration on training, coaching, conditioning and research between the WACA and Murdoch University.

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