First published 29 January 2018
  • Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) acquires multiple NordBord hamstring testing systems for its national and provincial teams from QUT spin-off Vald Performance
  • Vald Performance  founded in 2015 with help from innovation and knowledge transfer company QUT bluebox
  • More than 300 NordBord systems sold,  more than 26,000 athletes tested, more than 105,000 individual tests conducted
  • QUT to collaborate with researchers from University of South Wales (USW) and Australian Catholic University (ACU) during IRFU-NordBord partnership on research into Irish players’ health and performance

The first prototype NordBord was built by QUT Faculty of Health exercise scientist Associate Professor Tony Shield. Subsequently, he and then QUT PhD student Dr David Opar, now at ACU, explored the device’s reliability and the relationship between active muscle lengthening strength and hamstring injury rates.

The NordBord is based on the well-known Nordic curl hamstring exercise and uses advanced sensors and data capture software to measure hamstring strength and imbalance, known risk factors for hamstring strain injuries. It helps coaches and clinicians identify these risk factors and intervene before a potential injury occurs. If an injury does occur, the system also provides useful feedback during rehabilitation.   



“Hamstring strain injury and re-injury is the most common cause of lost training and playing time in a number of sports,” Associate Professor Shield said.

“Many years of science and research are behind the NordBord and it is very gratifying to see the global uptake of the system in elite sporting competitions, and also by sports medicine and physiotherapy clinics.

“It has provided a new way to measure and monitor hamstring strength, which is important in our understanding of hamstring exercises and benefits. ‘How much can you Nordic?’ has even become a popular phrase in sports circles.”

Over the four-year IRFU-Vald Performance partnership, Associate Professor Shield and Dr Opar will collaborate with USW exercise and sports science Dr Morgan Williams on the USW-led injury risk study that will collect and monitor metrics of Irish male and female players’ health and performance across several areas.

Associate Professor Shield, Dr Opar and colleagues also recently published a review of strength training exercises and effects on risk factors for hamstring injury, An Evidence-Based Framework for Strengthening Exercises to Prevent Hamstring Injury, in the journal Sports Medicine.

More about NordBord and Vald Performance:

  • NordBord is used by, among others, 15 AFL teams, including Port Adelaide and the Melbourne Demons, 16 English Premier League clubs, including Leicester City, and in the USA by 10 NBA basketball teams and 18 NFL teams.
  • QUT alumni remain key players in Vald Performance, including CEO Laurie Malone, Chief Technology Officer Sam James, and Operations Director Christopher Rowe.
  • Vald Performance has added to its portfolio two additional sports tech systems – the GroinBar Hip Strength Testing System and the HumanTrak Movement Analysis System.

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