Broncos on the pulse with science
A secret experiment has allowed Brisbane Broncos players
to approach their games with fresher legs, as the club strives to
become Australia's most scientifically advanced football team.
The NRL title aspirants worked with University of
Queensland School of Human Movement and Nutrition
Sciences researchers, led by Vince Kelly, to
test the effects of an external counter pulsation (ECP) device on
The ECP device, which looks like a recovery bed with pressure
cuffs that are placed around the calves, thighs and buttocks, has
previously been used to treat cardiac patients via compression of
the lower extremities.
"To our knowledge the Broncos are one of the only sporting teams
in the world to have trialled this," Mr Kelly said.
"Their squad has used the ECP device as a form of recovery in a
variety of settings and the results have been encouraging.
"Perceptions of player soreness and wellbeing were significantly
better over a four-week period, particularly for the upper body,
hamstrings, calves and quadriceps.
"In another study, power output and stress hormone levels were
improved when players used ECP the same day as a high-intensity
A separate UQ research team is also trialling ECP as a way of
diabetes II sufferers who are receiving insufficient
The Broncos have been using the method since last year,
but kept their experimentation under wraps as they looked to gain
an advantage over their NRL opponents.
"It produced favourable outcomes when compared to using ice
baths in isolation as a means of recovery," Mr Kelly said.
"There has been so much concentration in previous decades around
training to get faster or stronger or fitter, that recovery has
perhaps been overlooked to an extent.
"The NRL is extremely demanding on the human body and games are
often decided in the final minutes, so a team which recovers better
than their opponents could find the winning edge.
"The next step from here will be individualising recovery, by
combining specific ECP recommendations with other forms of
The Broncos are also set to focus their sights on better
understanding the hormonal indicators of recovery, and have
research projects underway regarding sleep recovery and performance
Media: Mr Vince Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org
or UQ Communications Robert
, +617 3346 3035, +61 0448 410