Charles Sturt University (CSU) human movement lecturer Dr Stephen Bird has signed a three month contract to provide nutritional expertise to Sydney’s Wests Tigers rugby league team during the 2007 National Rugby League (NRL) season.
“This is a very exciting opportunity because CSU’s School of Human Movement has a philosophy that encourages us to take our research and apply it in the real world,” Dr Bird said.
“When I presented some research at the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association conference on the Gold Coast in October last year, I was approached to act as a performance nutrition consultant by representatives of three professional sports teams – the Geelong Cats (Australian Football League), the Townsville Crocodiles (National Basketball League) and the Wests Tigers (NRL). I accepted the Wests Tigers’ offer.
“My main role with the Tigers’ first and reserve grade teams is to translate information and research and apply that to sport performance,” Dr Bird said.
David Boyle, the Wests Tigers’ Strength and Conditioning Coach, has welcomed the appointment of Dr Bird to the team. “Dr Bird has already spent a day with the team and started his work building rapport with the players and analysing their individual needs. The head coach thinks there is a lot of merit in this, so we’re looking at making Dr Bird scientific consultant to the club, and we are really looking forward to building an association with CSU through him.”
The first priority for Dr Bird is to analyse the players’ knowledge of nutrition and provide nutritional education and other training and recovery strategies to the players.
“After I have assessed each athlete I will liaise with appropriate staff regarding recovery strategies for training and match days, and try to identify signs and symptoms of Over-training Syndrome. I will also advise on supplementation to enhance muscle growth and recovery, nutritional strategies to maintain adequate body composition, and try to maximise their fat-free mass. I will investigate ways to maximise the players’ power-to-weight ratios, and will work with the club’s dietitian to develop the best nutritional regimes for each player.
“We will explore recovery strategies, from training session to training session and from match to match. We are also keen to come up with some research proposals for our Honours and PhD students,” Dr Bird said.
Dr Bird is a registered and accredited exercise physiologist and is a lecturer in human movement. He has several research projects in progress as director of the Exercise and Nutrition Research Group he leads within the University’s School of Human Movement Studies.