Nicole Chimera

Associate Professor, Kinesiology
Faculty of Applied Health Sciences

Nicole Chimera, Associate Professor of Kinesiology in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, researches how injuries take place and how mechanisms such as the neuromuscular system can be used to prevent injuries. Her research activities include exploring clinical movement screening tools; evaluating injury risk assessment using clinician friendly tools; and using intervention strategies to reduce risk of injury in sport and physical activity.

Please give a brief overview of your research project.

The purpose of this project is to identify if there are differences in musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses post-pandemic when compared to pre-pandemic. Historical data from 2009-2019 indicated differences in injury incidence between male and female athletes as well as across sports.  These injury differences may be magnified by activity restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. During the pandemic, competitions and events were cancelled and athletes may have been forced to train from home, which may have contributed to some level of detraining. I will compare the prevalence, incidence and characteristics of injuries and illness experienced by male and female athletes competing in the 2022 Canada Games competitions and compare this to the 2009-2019 Canada Games competitions.

What do you expect will be the outcome of your research?

Elite-level competitions such as the Canada Games involve many athletes participating in multiple sports during a set time period. While participation of this magnitude and level is desirable for many athletes, there are inherent risks of injury for participants. To reduce injuries, we must first identify and describe the injury problem. The first step of this research series established an understanding of the epidemiology of injuries and illnesses during Canada Games competitions. This current project will build on the previous research to establish if there are differences in injuries and illnesses during the 2022 Canada Games competitions that may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The expected outcome is that we will have a better understanding of injury and illness during Canada Games participation, which will hopefully help to aid future research in risk reduction.

How will this contribute to knowledge, or understanding of, the Canada Summer Games?

This project has the potential to significantly increase our understanding of injury and illness during Canada Games competitions that may be due to detraining. Detraining occurs when workouts, coaching and other training activities are reduced or stopped, typically due to illness or injury. During the COVID-19 pandemic there were lockdowns across the country, which forced athletes to train outside of their normal training environment and limited competition. If we do see an increase in injuries during the 2022 Canada Games compared to historical data, this may provide Canada Games officials, as well as provincial and regional-level athletic therapists, physiotherapists and strength and conditioning professionals, with insight into targeted injury risk reduction models for future Canada Games participants.

How did you become interested in this research?

As a clinician, I have always been interested in understanding how injury develops, how to screen for injury risk, and how we may be able to intervene to reduce injuries in sport and physical activity. Over the course of my research career, I have focused on injury identification and risk reduction.

How do you plan on sharing your research?

This work will be shared with the Canada Games Council, through scholarly avenues of presentations and/or publications, and in social media through the Brock University Centre for Healthy Youth Development through Sports.

Do you have any advice or tips on how colleagues in your Faculty can incorporate the Canada Games into their research?

I think one of the biggest tips I have taken from the Canada Games research projects that I have been involved with is that creatively incorporating areas of expertise and thinking outside the box often leads to research collaboration with our colleagues to contribute to expanded knowledge.