Wannabe a Game Changer ?

Many reading this will have watched the Nexflix doc ‘The Game Changers’. It serves as an exemplar of the populist pseudoscience that often surrounds sports performance and verifies UL’s approach to the pursuit of Sport and Exercise Sciences following the principles of good science and the scientific method. The documentary features James Wilks, a former MMA fighter, presenting ‘evidence-based’ opinion on the benefit of plant-based vs. meat-based diets for athletic performance. The featured list of high-profile sportspersons promoting the benefit(s) of plant-based diets makes for compelling viewing, as does the reference to evidence-based ‘science’. That science is our science, Sports and Exercise Science. We should pay attention (read Asker Jeukendrup’s blog  Is game changers game changing or is it sensationalism? (mysportscience.com) for an excellent critique).

Game Changers aired on Netflix early in 2019, just as PESS researchers concluded a 7y, €3.75m research programme investigating the role of dairy-based proteins (and their derivatives) on musculoskeletal health and sports performance, and about to embark on parallel studies with plant-based proteins. In effect, we were now ‘players’ in the Game Changer debate with some high-powered techniques in Sport and Exercise Science at our disposal to make an impactful evidence-based contribution.

Funded by EI’s Innovation Partnership Programme and led by physiologist Dr Rob Davies and Sports Nutritionist, Dr Marta Kozior, the studies were quickly up and running. The advent of Covid quashed this activity and also any further engagement with the community represented by these studies, i.e. the PESS Department. Since then, the team worked within Covid guidelines to restore this research programme and are now in a position to offer students of the department the opportunity to engage with us in the conduct of our research. We hope that participation in this Game-Changing research over the coming months may offset, in part, the Covid-enforced restricted access and engagement in the activities of your department.

So, if you want to be a Game Changer and receive remuneration for your contribution email Dr Marta Kozior (marta.kozior@ul.ie) with the subject header ‘Game Changer’ for further information.

Professor Phil Jakeman is a Professor in Exercise Physiology in the department of Physical Education & Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick.  His current research interests include Human Exercise Science; Biochemistry of Exercise; Growth Factors; Bone Turnover; Muscle Adaptation; Nutrition and metabolism. View Phil’s profile on Research Gate or contact  , phil.jakeman@ul.ie, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1199-080X, Web of Science Researcher ID C-2308-2008    Phil J round

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