Industry partnership: QUT, qutbluebox, Vald Performance

NordbordHamstring injuries can keep experienced star players away from their game and cost professional sporting clubs millions of dollars annually. Now elite sporting stars can assess and reduce their risk of a hamstring injury, thanks to a breakthrough made by QUT researchers. The discovery could be worth a fortune to football codes, with hamstring strain injuries accounting for most non-contact injuries in Australian rules football, soccer and rugby union and a host of other running-based sports.

QUT researcher Dr Anthony Shield and former QUT PhD student, Dr David Opar developed a concept to provide real-time feedback on individual muscle strength during a common hamstring exercise - the Nordic hamstring curl. This enables athletes to measure hamstring muscle strength independently across both limbs and the data can be provided to sports physiotherapists and other professionals to monitor strength imbalances, track rehabilitation, assess injury risk and guide training to prevent future hamstring injury. 

The QUT research team supported by qutbluebox, the technology transfer company of QUT, engaged with elite sports teams in AFL, NRL, English Premier League and American football to test prototypes of the NordBord Hamstring Testing System, testing hundreds of players. This amassed a wealth of positive data and built critical industry relationships. As part of qutbluebox’s program to accelerate innovation, qutbluebox assisted a team of young entrepreneurs including key QUT graduates to form Vald Performance Pty Ltd. Vald Performance were awarded an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant of nearly $500,000 and refined the prototype into a market-ready system. The NordBord Hamstring Testing System was officially launched in January 2016 and is already in use by over 75 elite sports clubs across the globe.    

The successful relationship between QUT, qutbluebox, Vald Performance and elite sports clubs is an example that demonstrates high quality innovation, a great team and a strong focus on industry engagement showcasing IP principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7.