La Trobe researcher awarded ARC Early Career Industry Fellowship

La Trobe researcher Dr Brooke Patterson has been awarded $448,222 as part of the Australian Research Council Early Career Industry Fellowships Program, to support women in sport.

Dr Brooke Patterson, a research fellow from the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, has been awarded this funding as part of the Australian Research Council (ARC) 50 Early Career Industry Fellowship scheme.

The Early Career Industry Fellowships scheme provides opportunities for new and emerging researchers to work with highly experienced, leading professors and shoulder-to-shoulder with Australian industry. The scheme aims to build innovation and facilitate the adoption, translation, and commercialisation of Australian research over time.

Dr Patterson will use these funds to evaluate training strategies that build high performing women football players, reduce injuries and drop-out rates, maximise the commercialisation of women’s sport, and increase the visibility of high performing women in society.

“I am over the moon to be able to continue working at La Trobe and strengthen our research efforts towards supporting Australian women in sport,” Dr Patterson said.

“Women drop out of contact sports such as Australian football at a much higher rate than men, often due to lack of physical capabilities, and the absence of research into the physical fitness and coaching needs for women” Dr Patterson said.

“We will bring research to the field, using innovative equipment (VALD Performance, Industry Partner) and software to assess athletic and football performance, in the Victorian Amateur Football Association (Industry Partner) who have been strong supporters of women's football. Evaluation of movements and physical capabilities required for tackling will inform training priorities for the coaching industry. Our aim is to contribute towards building high-performing women in Australian sport,” Dr Patterson said.

Dr Patterson is also a physiotherapist and a former AFL Women’s player and coach. She is currently co-ordinating a large clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of an injury prevention program co-designed with the AFL Prep-to-Play, in 165 women’s and girls' community Australian football teams.