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The SIRC Research Award is currently under review, watch here for future developments.

2013 SIRC Research Award - Winners Announced

The SIRC Research Award recognizes outstanding sport research in Canada. Acknowledging how sport research benefits the Canadian sporting community is the primary purpose of this award. Congratulations to all who participated.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to all of our judges and to the following sponsors for their tremendous support: CIHR – Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, EBSCO Host and Coaches of Canada.

”It is through research and learning that we improve.  We are fortunate to have excellent sport researchers in Canada who continue to expand our knowledge, challenge our thinking and move us forward.  The research papers submitted to this year’s SIRC Research Award are a great example of the brightest minds Canada has in the fields of sport research and e are very pleased to recognize the innovative research in both the areas of high performance sport and impact of sport on the community.”   Debra Gassewitz, President and CEO SIRC

And the awards go to…

The Impact of Applied Research on Athletic Excellence – High Performance Category:

“The Effect of Dehydration on Muscle Metabolism & Cycling Performance During Prolonged Exercise in Males” Dr. Heather Sprenger – University of Guelph


Dehydration of ~1-2% body mass (BM) loss has been shown to augment normal physiological responses to exercise compared to being hydrated and may impair endurance performance. The reality in sport is the majority of athletes arrive to exercise in a dehydrated state and only replace ~50% of sweat losses during exercise leading to significant fluid deficits and amplified physiological stress compared to arriving hydrated and drinking enough fluid throughout exercise to minimize sweat losses. This study investigated the effects of arriving to exercise in a fluid deficit (~0.6%) combined with fluid restriction during 90 min of moderate intensity cycling (~65% VO 2 peak) followed by a time trial (TT, 6 kJ/kg BM) in nine trained male cyclists (VO 2 peak = 4.4 ± 0.2 L/min ). Subjects lost 1.4%, 2.3%, and 3.1% of their BM from sweat loss incurred after 45 min, 90 min, and after the TT respectively. As the degree of dehydration increased, all measured physiological responses were significantly augmented, specifically heart rate, core temperature(Tc), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), blood & muscle lactate, total carbohydrate use, and a trend for greater muscle glycogen use. Additionally, TT performance was 13% slower when male participants were dehydrated by 2-3% BM with all physiological measures exacerbated compared to responses when hydrated.


Dr. Sprenger received her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph, Guelph, ON. Her graduate research was funded by the Gatorade Sport Science Institute (GSSI) where Dr. Sprenger’s specialty involved investigating fluid balance before and during exercise and the effects of exercise-induced dehydration on physiological responses, substrate oxidation, muscle metabolism, and performance. Currently Dr. Sprenger applies the principles of sport physiology to many teams and athletes across the province as a Sport Physiologist and Research Lead at the Canadian Sport Institute Ontario. Being a two-sport National Team athlete herself, both in ice hockey and road cycling, Dr. Sprenger’s current research is focused on multi-disciplinary applied sport science research initiatives to improve podium potential and performance in Canadian athletes. Dr. Sprenger has published in such journals as Applied Physiology, Nutrition, & Metabolism, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, American Journal Physiology, Endocrinology, & Metabolism, and the International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism.

The Impact of Sport on the Community – Community Category:

“An Ethnographic Study of Issues Surrounding the Provision of Sport Opportunities to Young Men From a Western Canadian Inner-City” – Nicholas L. Holt, Jay Scherer, Jordan Koch - University of Alberta


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine issues surrounding the provision of sport opportunities to young men from inner-city areas of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. More specifically, the research question was: What are the benefits, constraints, and opportunities associated with providing sport programs to young men from inner-city areas?

Design: Using an ethnographic approach data were collected via 18 months of participant observation and interviews with 11 youth workers who were responsible for the provision of various sport programs to young inner-city dwellers. The focus of this study became a weekly drop-in floor hockey program delivered as part of services provided by the city mental health division. In addition to interviews, data were also drawn from over 50 fieldwork entries recorded by one fieldworker who attended the floor hockey sessions. Analysis was framed around personal, social, and structural issues.

Results: At a personal level sport provided young men with an outlet for overcoming boredom, releasing aggression, and a temporary reprieve from the conditions of their daily lives. At a social level, sport provided opportunities for relationship building between the youth workers and the young men. However, at a structural level enduring constraints associated with economic and social inequality, and the lack of an integrated approach to the delivery of services, restricted the influence that sport could have in the lives of the young men.

Conclusion: The findings add to the literature by providing precise understandings of the role of sport in a specific inner-city context and some of the mechanisms through which sport may foster and limit development. If sport programs are an instrument of public policy for mental health promotion and risk reduction, their impact is based on ways in which they are employed and to what ends they are used. This study provided an understanding of how sport programs might facilitate the work of youth workers and the more specific role they may play within the broader framework of social services offered to young men from the inner-city.


Nick Holt is a Professor in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. He conducts research in two main areas: (a) psychosocial aspects of youth sport and physical activity participation and (b) psychosocial aspects of sport performance. He has published 78 peer reviewed articles, 2 edited books, 22 book chapters, delivered 114 conference presentations, and over 40 talks to community and sport organizations. He has obtained over $850,000 in research funding as a principal investigator (including 2 CIHR and 2 SSHRC grants) and over $900,000 as a co-investigator. He served as president of the Canadian Society for Psychomotor Learning and Sport Psychology from 2010-2012, Associate Editor of The Sport Psychologist from 2007-2011, and currently sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, The Sport Psychologist, International Journal of Sport Psychology, and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health. He is committed to the development and advancement of qualitative research methods in sport/exercise psychology.

To read the winning research papers click on the titles above.

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