Research Opportunities

One of iCAHE’s aims is to contribute to better health and wellbeing for all through evidence-based allied health care. One way we can do that is by creating new knowledge. Research degrees are great ways for us to develop this new knowledge and iCAHE is passionate about creating and encouraging new research, particularly by clinicians.

The following projects have been developed by iCAHE staff and are listed here for students interested in pursuing a research degree. If you have been thinking about undertaking a research degree and weren’t sure of what to do, or if you have a burning area of interest then feel free to contact the iCAHE Director, Associate Professor Steve Milanese (steve.milanese@unisa.edu.au) to discuss developing a project.

There are basically two types of research degrees – Masters by Research and Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). Masters by research take two years full time commitment (or 4 years part-time) whilst PhDs take up to 4 years full time commitment. With Masters by Research degrees there are two offered here at UniSA. One is the Masters by Research and the second is the Master of Research (Population Health Practice). This latter program is great if you have no research background as it includes 4 research-based courses.  

Research Projects 

Movement screening and injury in elite junior Australian football

This project builds on an ongoing successful research relationship with the SANFL, which has developed a dataset from over 1200 players. The goals outlined below are not an exhaustive list for this project and goals can be added or tailored based on the specific interests of the research student: 1) Investigate the relationship between preseason Functional Movement Screen results and injuries sustained during the South Australian National Football League under-18 competition; 2) Examine longitudinal changes in movement patterns of developing players and whether this influences injury risk and 3) Examine the effect of concussions and ankle sprains upon movement patterns.

The project provides an opportunity for the prospective student to have some flexibility with pursuing specific research questions that interests them, within the larger framework of the project. For more information contact: Associate Professor Steve Milanese (steve.milanese@unisa.edu.au), Dr. Joel Fuller (joel.fuller@mq.edu.au) or Dr Samuel Chalmers (samuel.chalmers@sydney.edu.au).

Screening the elbow in professional baseball players: Development of a screening protocol using magnetic resonance imaging and physical assessment.

This project aims to validate the use of MRI and physical assessment screening data to identify professional baseball athletes (from the Adelaide Bite team) at increased risk of elbow injury during a 3-month professional baseball season. Players will have serial MRI scans over the season and a research physiotherapist will perform monthly screening assessments during the season. Correlations between MRI findings (including tissue morphology and dimensional changes), symptoms, objective assessment findings, training/playing load changes, environmental conditions etc will be sought. With the increasing professionalism of Baseball in Australia, findings from this project will be used to help establish a centre of excellence that provides best practices, research, support and training in the area of upper limb medical imaging and athlete screening, specifically in baseball athletes.

Interested prospective applicants should contact Associate Professor Steve Milanese (steve.milanese@unisa.edu.au)

Lower limb posterior chain muscle strength in AFL footballers with a history of hamstring injury 

This study aims to 1) investigate isolated strength of each segment in the posterior chain in AFL footballers with and without a history of hamstring strain injury, 2) Better understand the relationship between the magnitude and balance of strength across this multi-link system in AFL footballers with and without a history of hamstring strain injury, and 3) Understand the relationship between posterior chain strength, dynamic flexibility and hamstring injury. Initially a systematic review will be undertaken to explore the evidence associated with the effectiveness of posterior chain lower limb strengthening exercises as a risk reduction mechanism for hamstring injuries, using a standard Systematic review protocol. Following this AFL footballers with a history of hamstring injury in the previous football season or preseason and who have no current symptoms will be invited to participate. Following screening they will undertake a posterior chain screening protocol, testing maximum voluntary isometric hip extension, knee flexion and ankle plantarflexion. Testing will be performed using the KangaTech© system. The intended outcomes for this project include: a) Normative values for each strength measure and strength ratios of the posterior chain; b) Understanding the relationship between these retrospective strength parameters and injury history in AFL players and c) Understanding the relationship between strength, dynamic range of motion and hamstring injury history in AFL players

Interested prospective applicants should contact Mark Jones (mark.Jones@unisa.edu.au) or Associate Professor Steve Milanese (steve.milanese@unisa.edu.au)

Abduction lag – a normative study in asymptomatic individuals

This project aims to explore normative data for abduction lag in a population of asymptomatic subjects. Initially a systematic review will be undertaken to explore the evidence related to hip abductor pathology and functional signs and symptoms using a standard Systematic review protocol. Following this subjects with no history of hip soft tissue injuries will be recruited and following screening undertake the Hip Abduction Lag Test (HALT), as per standard protocol, isometric hip abduction and adduction strength test performed in two positions (neutral and full active abduction) and an examination using diagnostic ultrasound to identify soft tissue changes around the greater trochanter. The intended outcomes for this project include: a) Normative values for Hip Abduction Lag Test; b)      Understanding the relationship of HALT results to isometric hip strength and c) Understanding the relationship of HALT results to sonographic soft tissue changes.

Interested prospective applicants should contact Mark Jones (mark.Jones@unisa.edu.au) or Associate Professor Steve Milanese (steve.milanese@unisa.edu.au)

Areas of study and research

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