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ACU delivers clinical edge to RBHRT

Queensland-based Australian Catholic University (ACU) students Shannon Chilman and Sam Parker will need to pack earplugs for their next internship – supercharging the Red Bull Holden Racing Team with exercise science muscle.

In a first for the motorsport category, Master of Clinical Exercise Physiology students from ACU’s School of Behavioural and Health Sciences will provide evidence-based health guidance for our team’s high-performance pit crew and drivers.

“This is an incredibly amazing experience,” Shannon said. “The facilities they have here are top notch and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Both Shannon and Sam’s careers were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic restrictions. Shannon was temporarily sidelined from a personal training role, while Sam was affected by redundancies in the high-performance sport industry.

A former competitive Irish dancer from the United States, Shannon saw the internship as a chance to apply her own experience and training.

“I was always getting injured so I’m fascinated by how the body heals and how it can perform,” the budding clinical exercise physiologist said. 

 “I’ve always been around the fitness industry but it’s my mission to get into the clinical side. I want to help people, to get them to connect with their bodies.”

Sam completed her undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science at ACU and is now on the way to her masters qualification.

“I was always the sporty kid. I wasn’t elite but it was always something I was interested in,” she said. 

“The set-up here at Red Bull Holden is very professional. Everyone exudes high performance and it’s somewhere I could see myself working.”

As part of the research partnership between ACU and Red Bull Holden Racing Team, crew chief Kris ‘Gooey’ Goos and his team have already participated in fitness testing and movement analysis at the Brisbane campus’s Exercise Lifestyle Clinic and in the biomechanics lab. The experienced wheel man believes he now has the sport science oomph to gain an edge over the field.

The lab’s motion capture technology and support from the interns could deliver strategies to make the RBHRT pit crew’s performance safer, faster and more efficient when handling 22kg wheels and 6.5kg rattle guns. “It’s going to be a massive deal for us,” Gooey said. “With the changes in the rules due to COVID-19 restrictions and short turnarounds, we will take a hundredth-of-a-second. We should be able to shave tenths-of-seconds out of this easy, just by having everyone on the right level.”