When Poling Bork joined the Canada Games Steering Committee, she took the call for Games-related research proposals very seriously.
Initially, the Senior Laboratory Instructor in the Department of Computer Science wondered if and how her computer science expertise could be applied to an athletic event.
“We brainstormed about how each department could contribute to making the Canada Games a success,” said Bork, adding that she was eager to put her research into action.
Part of Bork’s research focus involves developing serious games — software apps designed with intended purposes. Last year, she supervised a group of students who created an app meant to improve the quality of life for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Then it hit her: Why not create an app for athletes participating in the Canada Games?
Bork submitted her proposal to the VPR Canada Games Grants program, a special fund that enables Brock University researchers and scholars from all across campus to undertake research or a creative activity in any discipline and on any topic that relates to the Canada Games.
Vice-President, Research Tim Kenyon announced that Bork and 10 other researchers and scholars have received up to $7,000 funding for their proposals.
The recipients are:
- Poling Bork, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Canada Games Athlete Village software application (AV app)”
- Nicole Chimera, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Injuries and Illnesses across 10 years of Canada Games Competitions: 2009-2019”
- Michele Kathryn Donnelly, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Gender Equality at the Canada Games: A Historical Perspective
- Karen Fricker, Faculty of Humanities, “Circus on the Canal: Exploring the connections between water sports and circus performance”
- Amy Friend, Faculty of Humanities, “Movements Across the Waterways”
- Michael Holmes, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Development of an objective video-based athlete assessment tool for performance optimization and injury prevention”
- Nicole Luke, Faculty of Social Sciences, “Understanding the Impact of Participation in the Canada Games on Individual Ontario Athletes”
- William Marshall, Faculty of Mathematics and Science, “Using Data Science to Predict Golfer Performance”
- Catherine Parayre, Faculty of Humanities, “Brock project Lacrosse (Small Walker Press)”
- Brian Roy, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, “Sport Injuries during the Canada Games: Informing a standardized prospective injury surveillance system”
- Jonathan Younker, Library, “Canada Games Research Collection/Support & Digital Storytelling Initiative”
“It’s exciting to see the creative thought that’s gone into forming these programs, especially from Faculties and research areas that may not have an immediately obvious connect to the Canada Summer Games,” said Kenyon.
Bork’s Canada Games research is aiming to create an app for athletes staying on campus that will provide information on:
- Campus resources, including interactive maps, pointing athletes and coaches in the direction of cafeterias, medical care and other faculties;
- Games information, such as scores and schedules; and
- Online social networking, where athletes can communicate with one another
Her grant includes funding for Master’s student Maysara Al Jumaily, who developed an earlier prototype with a Math of Minds grant he received last year, alongside volunteer Ayosha Bork who developed the graphics and contributed to the user interface design.
“It’s amazing that the Canada Summer Games is coming to Brock,” said Bork. “I’m hopeful that the app we develop could be used over and over again by the Canada Games host society for future Games. Maybe this can leave a legacy.”
Kenyon said the Canada Summer Games opens up “unprecedented” research opportunities that will benefit Brock, Niagara and beyond.
“Research-wise, we’re in a position to document and study the process of planning and hosting a major sport event, something that hasn’t been done on such a large scale in the past,” he said.
The Canada Games is expected to bring more than 5,000 athletes from across the country to Niagara from Aug. 6 to 21, 2021 to compete in 18 sports.