UoA 24 - Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism


Our aim is to produce research of the highest quality with an emphasis on the application of theoretical perspectives to the real world, the use of innovative methodologies, the critical examination of policy and practice, effective knowledge transfer, public engagement, and professional development. We therefore place emphasis on working collaboratively with research stakeholders including service users and professionals to tackle real-world problems.

The two impact case studies selected for unit 24 reflect our desire and commitment to create knowledge that has a positive impact on health and athletic performance. Impacts from our research in unit 24 include implementing policy and practice changes within the Rugby Football SuperLeague to welfare provision and informing changes in the day-to-day practices and wellbeing provision at English Premier League academies.

The following impact case studies have been entered for the REF2021 submission. Find out more below.


Case study: Improving welfare support for professional rugby league players

The mental health and wellbeing of professional athletes in general and, in particular, sports which emphasize ‘mental toughness’ and are considered to reinforce masculine stereotypes, has been highlighted as an area of concern.

Research conducted at the University of Huddersfield has identified key areas of improvement in welfare support in elite-level rugby league. As a result of the research, the Rugby Football League (RFL) made policy changes (affecting all twelve Super League clubs across the UK, France and Canada), which have markedly improved the service Player Welfare Managers (PWMs) can provide for players. Benefits include increased awareness, uptake and access to player welfare, and mental health benefits for both players and PWMs.


Case study: Monitoring Wellness and Mental Fatigue in Soccer: Implications for Recovery Practices and Psychological Support

Academy soccer players play 40-50 matches per season and travel to play matches. Sleep, recovery and wellbeing are crucial for performance and health. The findings from research conducted at the University of Huddersfield have impacted day-to-day practices of two English Premier League 2 Academy Clubs.

Changes include: players being given more time to sleep and rest following away matches and losses, a hotel stay-over in the location of the match, later training start-times, prescribing recovery practices for players to undertake at home and giving players a day off. This has led to improved training practices and player recovery. Furthermore, the findings have increased awareness of the importance of psychological support for injured players.