Eilish McColgan among sports starts at University of Derby to launch cutting edge service for athletes

Launch of the iDXA centre in the Clinical Skills Suite at the University of Derby.

Launch of the iDXA centre in the Clinical Skills Suite at the University of Derby.

Top sports names – including British Olympic 1500m steeplechase runner Eilish McColgan – launched a cutting edge service for athletes at the University of Derby.

A new £60,000 reception and treatment area has been opened at the Health Lifestyle and Rehab centre, at the University’s Kedleston Road site in Derby, to house its £100,000 iDXA (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scanner, which was funded by the University.

The scanner’s X-rays measure body composition – for example, bone density or fat to muscle ratio – to help sportspeople pinpoint specific areas which need strengthening, to improve their performance.

Elite sports clubs, including Team GB and Derby County FC, are already using the scanner for their members but keen amateur athletes looking to boost their performance can also book a scan, at a cost of £65.

Team GB’s Ms McColgan, Derby County strength and conditioning coach Steve Haines, and competitive bodybuilder and Fit Factor 2013 Champion David Bissell officially opened the new iDXA suite. Guests were then given an insight into life in top level sport through workshops with the three sportspeople. Visitors also saw a scan performed on Mr Bissell.

Ms McColgan explained how important the iDXA is for long-distance athletes. She said: “I use it a couple of times throughout the year, mainly when I go to Kenya to train – I compare my body composition before I go and when I come back, using the scanner.

“I can’t afford to lose too much weight or muscle mass, which is quite possible over there due to the high-altitude training. It is very important there is not too much differentiation. Last year, I lost too much muscle mass and it led to injury so it is hugely important that I keep an eye on it.”

Mr Haines described the scanner as a vital piece of equipment for the Derby County squad. He said: “The iDXA is a big part of our sports science testing and analysis processes. We scan the first team squad four times a season, especially around pre-season so we know what shape they are in when they return for pre-season training.

“We want players to have as little body fat as possible and their strength levels are important – we don’t want them carrying around any fat that they don’t need as it makes them more prone to injury.

“It is also a great boost for us that this scanner is only 10 minutes away from our training ground. The University of Derby staff are very helpful and understand our needs.”

Katie Gibson, University Commercial Services Business Manager, added: “Our brand new iDXA suite will help make this top level service even more accessible for sportspeople to use.

“Keen amateur athletes and players of a wide range of sports will benefit from the same sports science being used to aid the performance of professionals.”

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