DCU Research

The School of Health and Human Performance in DCU is home to the Centre for Injury Prevention and Performance. This multi-disciplinary research group, inclusive of Certified Athletic Therapists, biomechanists, pain specialists, and sports psychologists, aims to develop strategies to ensure a safe sporting environment to maximise lifelong participation in sport and recreation for all. Led by Dr Siobhán O’Connor and Dr Enda Whyte, along with Professor Kieran Moran, Ms Aoife Burke, Ms Kate Sheridan, Dr Sinead O’Keeffe and Dr Anna Donnla O’Hagan, the team has expertise in injury prevention, injury assessment, concussion, rehabilitation, biomechanics of injury, behavioural change and sports psychology. Our ultimate aim is to use research to tangibly and positively impact society both nationally and beyond. We have a particular interest in adolescents and the female athlete, especially from an Irish context, with ongoing research in various populations including secondary school students, Gaelic games, Ladies Gaelic football, Camogie, horse-racing and college student-athletes. We also have ongoing research in the field of athletic therapy education from an international perspective. 

Some PhD research projects currently being undertaken include:

Róisín Leahy

Róisín Leahy is a Certified Athletic Therapist and is a PhD candidate investigating the management of sport-related concussion in Ladies Gaelic Football. Her research aims to improve concussion management from both a clinical perspective and a player education perspective. To date, she has developed a database of normative and reliability data from a multi-faceted concussion assessment from approximately 150 players. She has also carried out a large-scale online survey of concussion history and management practices in over 650 players. She is funded by the Irish Research Council and the Ladies Gaelic Football Association through the Enterprise Partnership Scheme and is supervised by Dr Siobhán O’Connor, Dr Enda Whyte and Dr Keith Rochfort. 

Frank Deveraux

Frank Deveraux is an assistant lecturer in IT Carlow and is leading the “Youth Injury Prevention in Physical Education” or “YIPPE” project, which aims to develop a novel approach to injury prevention in adolescents. Despite the well-established efficacy of existing injury prevention programmes, poor compliance and adherence has hindered its real world effectiveness. Frank’s PhD project, supported by his supervisors Dr O’Connor and Dr Whyte, aims to develop a games-based injury prevention programme for post-primary school adolescents in an attempt to remove some of the existing barriers to implementation such as poor engagement, time restraints, and limited resources. This programme will then be compared to an existing programme for its impact on injury incidence, neuromuscular function and student/teacher engagement with the programmes. This approach will provide schools with a sustainable, enjoyable, and effective programme which can help reduce the risk of injury in adolescents. 

Calvin Teahan

Calvin Teahan is a Certified Athletic Therapist and is a PhD Candidate focusing on injuries and injury prevention in Gaelic games. Under the supervision of Dr Whyte and Dr O’Connor he has completed a research study examining the injury profile and burden of injury in male and female Irish collegiate student athletes. He has also examined how pre-season and in-season assessments relate to injury and readiness to train in elite Gaelic footballers. He is currently implementing a large scale survey examining injury prevention knowledge and attitudes in male and female Gaelic games players and coaches. Calvin is also a Teaching Assistant in the BSc in Athletic Therapy and Training in the School of Health and Human Performance and teaches classes on injuries of the lower limb and rehabilitation. 

Lynn Allen

Lynn Allen is a Certified Athletic Therapist and course coordinator of the BSc in Athletic Rehabilitation Therapy in AIT. She is completing a professional doctorate in Elite Performance (Sport) in DCU on the topic of examining clinical reasoning skills in undergraduate Athletic Therapy students. Under the supervision of Dr Enda Whyte, Dr Siobhán O’Connor and Dr Aine MacNamara she is focusing on the cognitive components of clinical reasoning and the development of teaching and assessment strategies that may enhance metacognitive and clinical reasoning skills in Athletic Therapy students.