UQ to help Broncos eat their way to the top

14 December 2015

The Brisbane Broncos are known to have big appetites, but they'll be paying special attention to what they eat after announcing a scholarship for their own nutritional advisor.

The three-and-a-half-year scholarship worth $112,000 will fund a doctoral student from The University of Queensland's School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences to research and improve the team's diet.

Senior Lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics Dr Michael Leveritt, who previously worked for the Australian Institute of Sport and Queensland Academy of Sport, said nutrition was vital for athlete development.

"Implementing and evaluating nutrition interventions are keys to the discovery of improved practices that can enhance on-field performances," Dr Leveritt said.

"The Brisbane Broncos are leaders when it comes to the science of rugby league and this investment will help keep them at the forefront."

PhD candidate Mr Dean Paningbatan was the first student awarded the scholarship.

The latest collaboration enhances the partnership between the most successful Australian rugby league club of the past 30 years and one of Australia's top-ranked universities.

UQ Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences students have been working side-by-side with Broncos coaching and high-performance staff as they prepare for the 2016 season.

One of those actively involved is PhD candidate Mr Johnpaul Caia, who is studying sleep and other recovery methods for rugby league players.

"It's been a fantastic opportunity to combine doctoral research with working alongside staff from an elite sporting organisation," Mr Caia said.

"We are learning from some of the best when it comes to sports performance.

"I've been really impressed by the club in terms of their professionalism and focus and it's a great environment to learn in."

Honours student Ms Marni Simpson has also been working with the team. She will graduate from UQ this month after spending eight months of practical placement with the Broncos.

"I learnt so many skills, particularly around collaboration and communication," Ms Simpson said.

"Being a Broncos supporter, I had to pinch myself at the chance to benefit from their feedback."

Media: Mr Vince Kelly, v.kelly2@uq.edu.au or UQ Communications Casey Fung, c.fung@uq.edu.au, 3346 7887.