Doctoral Degrees (Exercise, Sport and Lifestyle Medicine)


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 51
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    Exploring stakeholders' perceptions on the status of women's rugby development in South Africa
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Solomons, Jocelyn; Kraak, Wilbur; Bekker, Sheree; Groom, Ryan; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Dept. of Exercise, Sport and Lifestyle Medication.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Over the past 7 years, Women's Rugby has experienced remarkable global growth, marked by increased participation and a rise in tournaments. However, despite these advancements, the sport has received limited attention regarding women's participation, primarily due to historical and societal barriers. These barriers include the perception of rugby as a men’s-only sport, limited resources for female players, and societal discouragement. To comprehensively explore the challenges faced by South African Women's Rugby, this study collected qualitative data through online interviews, focus group discussions, and in-person observations, while considering stakeholders' (players, coaches, support staff (i.e., team doctor, physiotherapist, biokineticist, sport psychologist) and administrators (team managers and team/club administrators) perceptions and the impacts of historical and cultural factors. The findings uncovered significant challenges in overcoming gender-role expectations and gaining acceptance in a society that predominantly views rugby as masculine. To address these challenges, the study recommends that Women's Rugby coaches continually improve coaching practices by embracing experimentation, feedback, and reflection. Special considerations should be given to coaching Women's Rugby in South Africa, considering players' late entry and diverse sporting backgrounds. Integrating ethics and professionalism into coaching development frameworks is crucial. Moreover, the study emphasises the critical importance of the coach-athlete relationship, highlighting individual differences, and attachment styles. Effective communication, trust-building, and mutual support play key roles in creating an environment where players feel valued and motivated to excel. The coach-athlete relationship maximises performance and overall well-being. Both coaches and players must actively contribute to prioritising and nurturing this relationship, leading to effective coaching and improved player performance. In conclusion, this study sheds light on the challenges faced by participants in South African Women's Rugby and offers recommendations for improvement. Shifting gender-role expectations, dispelling stereotypes, and increasing media exposure are pivotal in promoting Women's Rugby as a popular and viable sport. Continuous improvement in coaching practices and the implementation of tailored coach development programs are crucial. Fostering effective communication, trust, and support within the coach-athlete relationship can contribute to the growth and success of Women's Rugby in South Africa. Implementing these recommendations will help South African Women's Rugby overcome historical, cultural, and economic barriers, creating a more inclusive and prosperous future for the sport. This will benefit players, coaches, administrators, and Women's Rugby as a whole.
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    Historical narrative of high school athletics among oppressed communities in the Western Cape, 1956-1994
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Willis, Roderick Arthur; Cleophas, Francois; Kraak, Wilbur; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Dept. of Exercise, Sport and Lifestyle Medication.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation creates a historical narrative of a multi-coded school sports organisation in the Western Cape, South Africa between 1956 and 1994, the Western Province Senior School Sports Union (WPSSSU). This organisation, established in 1956, was analysed historically and operationally up to its demise in 1994. The main narrative is preceded by a brief overview of a history of modern athletics in Great Britain. Modern athletics was formalised during the late 19th century at Oxford and Cambridge universities. After completing their studies, the graduates took their knowledge of athletics to schools in the Cape, a British colony at the time. A historical overview of athletics during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Cape Town society therefore serves as historical contextualisation for the later establishment of WPSSSU in 1956. The study emanated in two published articles, the first concentrating on the period 1956 to 1972 and titled ‘A Historical Narrative of High School Athletics amongst “Coloured” Communities in Cape Town, South Africa, with Special Reference to the Western Province Senior Schools Sports Union, 1956–1972’. This article was published online on 10 March 2022 in the International Journal of the History of Sport. The second article focused on the period 1973 to 1994 and is titled ‘Reconstructing a Socio-Political Narrative of High School Athletics in the Oppressed Communities of the Greater Cape Peninsula, South Africa, 1973–1994’. This was published on 21 February 2022 in the South African Historical Journal. These articles are followed by a chapter that interrogates the main reasons that led to the demise of WPSSSU, namely the Double Standards Resolution, the policy of non-alignment, the formation of rival non-racial school sports organisations and the school sports unity debate. The study aimed to add to the corpus of literature on black sports history in South Africa, with a secondary aim to prove that school sports was a well-functioning discipline in oppressed communities during apartheid. The theoretical lens, reconstructionism, was employed to underpin the research methodology that relied on primary and secondary material, documents of mass communication, minutes, reports, oral and telephonic interviews as well as email communication. The study concluded by synthesising issues that were investigated in the main body of the dissertation and proposes that the current state of school sports in South Africa can be improved if the authorities consider the functioning and organisation of WPSSSU.
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    Transitioning out of the professional player pathway: A grounded theory on the process in South African Men’s tennis
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Skinstad, Deborah Anne; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. Dept. of Sport Science.; Grobbelaar, Heinrich W.; Babchuck, Wayne A.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: To understand and describe the athlete and their environment(s), researchers, historically, have confined their description of retrospective events, such as sport participation, development, career transitions, etc., to the sport context. This approach has been limiting to researchers’ scope of interpretation (qualitative designs) and / or projection (quantitative designs) of past, present and future (athletic) selves along with transitioning and non-transitioning sporting careers. In other words, the person and athlete are portrayed as mutually exclusive. Considering this, the motivation for the current research project was to understand, reimagine and amplify the human experience of South African men’s tennis players, i.e., the people within their development pathways. To do this, a rigorous constructivist grounded theory (GT) methodology was employed both as the research process and as a strategy to generate theory. This GT study explored South African men’s tennis player transitions within and out of the professional player pathway in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Four research questions guided the study: 1) what is happening in the development process of a promising competitive junior tennis player in the Western Cape, South Africa?; 2) what is happening [on and off the court] in the development of these players?; 3) what are the transitional processes throughout the junior career pathway and how are these transitions understood?; and 4) how do men’s tennis players [with a promising national junior ranking] transition out of the professional player pathway? To best answer these research questions, a range of tennis participants (n = 34) were selected using purposeful sampling (theoretical sampling) along with maximum variation sampling. Data collection entailed semi-structured interviews augmented with observational work. Theory generation adhered to the procedures for constructivist GT analysis (initial codes, focused codes, categories and categories underpinning theory). As a result, a GT model that explains South African men’s tennis player development and transition processes was developed. This model is underpinned by eight core categories: 1) pursuing a rich man’s sport; 2) transitioning steps; 3) playing inside the lines [small world]; 4) SA Coaching world; 5) life orbiting tennis; 6) college: driving the tennis vehicle; 7) manhood eclipsing childhood; and 8) being a pro at life, not tennis. The practical implications of this model are recognised firstly in its approach to tennis development, i.e., placing greater emphasis on the person and their individual life transitions and how these influence their tennis trajectories. Secondly, this model provides a unique context to the South African tennis player journey. A journey that Tennis South Africa’s (TSA) current long-term player development model (LTPD) generically and collectively attempts to accommodate in a long-term development plan. However, without context and individual experiences of junior to senior transitions, i.e., sport within life domains, the South African tennis player remains (figuratively) confined to a linear, reductionist and prescriptive approach to development and the complexity of their path is grossly misunderstood and misrepresented. A practical recommendation for TSA is to accommodate the doubles format as a mechanism for tennis development and utilize it as a viable professional tennis pathway.
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    The effect of active brain-breaks on in-school physical activity, fundamental movement skills and executive functioning in grade one children
    (2021-03) Van Stryp, Odelia; Africa, Eileen Katherine; Duncan, Michael J.; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dept. of Sport Science.
    Thesis (PhD Sport Sc)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.
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    Eye tracking as a diagnostic and monitoring tool for sports-related concussion
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2020-03) Snegireva, Nadja; Welman, Karen; Derman, Wayne; Patricios, Jon; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sport Science.
    ENGLISH SUMMARY : Background: Eye movements have become an easy-to-quantify biomarker for a range of disorders; however, the potential for concussion assessment still needs to be validated. The aim of this prospective cohort study was to establish whether eye tracking technology (ETT) would be a clinically useful, reliable, and valid method to diagnose and monitor youth and adult athletes who have sustained a sports-related concussion (SRC). Methods: To investigate the clinical utility of ETT, an online survey amongst sports medicine clinicians (n = 171) was conducted. For determination of reliability and validity, a testing battery with selected eye tracking metrics (n = 47) was implemented three times (3.0 ± 1.4, 26.1 ± 47.2 and 45.8 ± 19.3 days post-injury) on concussed adult and youth athletes (n = 70) and twice on non-concussed age-and-sex matched athletes (n = 92) with 7.0 ± 3.9 days between sessions. Results: There was insufficient awareness among surveyed clinicians that concussion could lead to abnormal eye movements. Thus, with the exception of abnormal pupil light reflex (examined by 68%), eye movement deficits were inspected by less than half of the respondents (46.3 ± 12%). Only 11% clinicians had actually worked with ETT. Self-paced saccade (SPS) count in the adult group, and the blink duration in the memory-guided saccade (MGS) task, proportion of antisaccade errors, and gain of diagonal smooth pursuit (SP) in the youth group indicated good reliability (ICC > 0.75). Concussed youth athletes had a higher blink duration in the fast MGS task (p = 0.001, η2 = 0.17) and a tendency for higher blink duration in the sinusoidal SP task (p = 0.016, η2 = 0.06) compared to non-concussed youths, as well as to their own subsequent post-concussion values (blink duration decreased over time by 24%, p = 0.35, and 18%, p = 0.48, accordingly). Conclusion. Overall, this study was not able to confirm the findings of previous research on eye tracking metrics for SRC assessment, due to insufficient reliability of described protocols when applied to athletes participating in contact sports. Clinicians can make use of the SPS count as indicator of a concussion among adult athletes, while longer blink durations in MGS or sinusoidal SP tasks might indicate a concussion in youth athletes. Increasing educational opportunities and practical experience of clinicians regarding the use of ETT for SRC assessment to encourage its broader use is advocated, since most deficits in saccades or smooth pursuit are missed during un-instrumented examination. Finally, serial comparison within the same individuals over time is more likely to detect the effect of a SRC than comparison to healthy controls.