Repton School has been selected by Podium Analytics, founded by Ron Dennis, CBE, as pilot school in the establishment of ‘The Podium Analytics Institute for Youth Sports Medicine and Technology’ at the University of Oxford. This will be a first-of-its-kind institute focused on 11–18-year-olds and safety for lifelong health. Its purpose is to inspire and forge evidence-based changes in sport and physical education, and to develop innovative technologies to monitor, analyse and ultimately prevent injury in sport. 

Ron Dennis CBE, Founder and Chairman of Podium Analytics, commented: “Safety in sport is paramount and it’s essential that the focus shifts to young people. These early years are where habits are formed and injuries are first sustained, and this tracks from youth to adulthood, shaping the overall health and wellbeing of an individual throughout their life. Having spent over 40 years in motorsport, safety is an issue that I have lived and breathed. Countless improvements were made over the decades, but only due to the successful development of technology to capture real-time data to drive research and technology innovation. I have seen how mindsets can change from injury being an accepted norm to a focus on protection permeating a sport’s culture. It always comes back to the overarching philosophy – you need data to effect change, and it is this philosophy that we have built into Podium Analytics and that we are committed to bringing to wider sport.” 

With a clear mission to reduce the incidence and impact of sports injury in young people, Podium Analytics has secured a series of high-profile partnerships to help create a safer world of sport. Headmaster Mark Semmence joined the charity’s founders; the Rt Hon Nigel Huddleston MP, Sports Minister; sporting bodies including England Hockey; other seats of learning that are part of the pilot programme - which include Wellington College and The David Ross Education Trust; as well as lead researchers from Oxford University at the official launch at 10 Downing Street.  

With a major focus and investment in addressing the issue of sports-related injury in 11- to 18-year-olds, Mr Semmence welcomed this drive for pioneering research that will help ensure a better understanding of individual factors that lead to injury in youth sports: “In addition to our elite sports programme, participation is a fundamental part of the Repton experience. Sport, academics and the co-curricular exist in complementarity, with no sacrificing of quality and we see how valuable this sense of balance is to the state-of-mind of our entire pupil body. Indeed, most develop a lifelong love of sport and all appreciate the universal benefits participation in sport brings. Our imperative to safeguard the wellbeing of our pupils extends to their emotional as well as their physical prosperity, which is why Podium Analytics will play such a valuable role in Repton’s sports programme going forward.”  

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, added: “Sport-related injury, particularly concussion, have rapidly risen to the top of under-reported and under-researched issues with lifelong consequences for both individual athletes and society. In keeping with the University’s mission and ethos, this partnership and the new Institute constitute a once-in-a-generation opportunity to inform and enable safe sport practices for lifelong health, and represents the best of science, medicine and technology coming together to deliver research that can have real-world and measurable impact on young people’s lives.”   

The Institute’s work will put young people at the heart of research, shifting the traditional focus of sports injury research, which is principally adult-focused and based upon treatment, to preventative solutions looking at the causes of injury, designed for and proven at a youth level with a focus on 11–18-year-olds.