Kilmore physiotherapist Marg Perrott, centre, is presented with her PhD and Nancy Millis Medal by LaTrobe University supervisors Jill Cook, left, and Tania Pizzari, right.

By Colin MacGillivray

KILMORE physiotherapist Marg Perrott has won recognition for her cutting-edge research on sports injuries.

Dr Perrott graduated with a PhD from LaTrobe University at the end of last year and was awarded the prestigious Nancy Millis Medal.

The medal is awarded to the authors of outstanding doctoral theses, indicating Dr Perrott’s thesis was in the top five per cent of research work.

Dr Perrott’s work investigated the link between core stability and sports injuries, and how to improve core stability to prevent injuries.

She said she had always been interested in research, but chose her specific area of focus because of an injury her friend experienced.

“I used to be a sprinter and one of my friends tore their hamstring at the World Masters Athletic Championships,” she said.

“It was just tragic for my friend. He could have won a medal at those championships, but he did his hamstring in the heats of the 100 metres.

“He sat there for another 10 days with a look of shock and loss on his face. For anyone who plays sport, there’s so many things that can stop you from achieving, but it’s so sad when injury is one of them.

“I felt that I should have been able to predict that that was going to happen. We had some signs that there were some issues that maybe we could have changed.

“He had really poor core stability, so one of the things my PhD looked at was can we change your core stability? We did a typical program that a physio or someone at the gym would get you doing and it would have increased people’s strength, but of all the other things we measured, it wouldn’t have changed stability at all.

“Then you have to say, ‘as a physio, if I’m going to give someone an exercise program, I need to make sure that it’s going to change some things other than just changing their strength’.”

Dr Perrott said it was a thrill to work with some of the leading sports scientists in the country.

“Research is getting to do something that nobody else has ever done, because to get a research project approved it has to be new work,” she said.

“It’s asking questions that people might be asking, but nobody has gone out to scientifically get the answers for.

“Being able to be at the cutting edge of research and the questions in sports injuries, I think that’s the exciting thing. And you get to mix with all these smart people who are all doing really good research.

“You can be in the right place at the right time and hear something that’s really ground-breaking and think, ‘this isn’t going to be published for another couple of years but I get to hear it now’. It’s super exciting.”

Dr Perrott, who works at Kilmore Physiotherapy Centre, said she wanted to continue researching on a part-time basis while continuing her clinical work.

She had been due to present at the International Olympic Committee World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport last year before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the conference’s cancellation.

She said she hoped to attend the rescheduled conference in Monaco at the end of this year to present her research.