Company founded by Galway sport scientist signs deal to work with Olympic athletes
By Declan Varley
A company based in IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre which provides an applied bio marker (Blood and Saliva) testing service for elite athletes around the world, has signed a contract with the Irish Institute of Sport. ORRECO will work with the cream of Ireland’s high performance athletes, including many who are bound for London 2012.
Founded by sports scientist Dr Brian Moore from Renmore, Galway, and consultant physician Dr Andrew Hodgson just over a year ago, ORRECO is already working with several multiple Olympic and World Champions. The company’s advanced blood and saliva testing helps athletes reach peak performance, protects sports men and women from overtraining syndrome and helps reduce the number of training days lost to illness and infection.
Members of the ORRECO team have worked with high calibre sports stars including golfer Padraig Harrington, renowned athletes Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah, and Fionnuala Britton, the Nike Oregon Track Club and the British Olympic Sailing Squad. The contract with the Irish Institute of Sport means the company will be working with the performance team supporting 80 Irish international athletes, including many who have qualified for the London Olympics
The ORRECO integrated team of world class practitioners includes medical doctors, physiologists, biomedical scientists, biostatisticians, and clinical and performance nutritionists.
Among them are Dr Carlos Gonzalez, former first team physiologist for Real Madrid, as well as the former speed and power consultant to the New Zealand, All Blacks Dr Christian Cook, and the performance nutritionist for Great Britain’s Olympic teams, Nathan Lewis.
A key part of the ORRECO service is an early warning signal for athletes who may be in danger of over-training. “Elite athletes obviously have to train hard to improve, but there is a risk that in search of improvement that they may over-train. By cross referencing biomarker results with performance tests we can help identify signs that they are over-reaching before becoming excessively fatigued, Ill or injured,” explained Dr Moore.
While based at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre, the company has partner analysis sites around the world, and their international team of physiologists, physicians, performance and clinical nutritionists support athletes training in bases around the world including Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, Sydney, Brisbane, Oregon and Florida.
“This is a very exciting time to be working alongside the Irish Institute of Sport,” stressed Dr Moore. “Everything is geared towards the Olympics at the moment. We are very much looking forward to working with the national squads across a range of sports.”
Based at the Innovation Centre in IT Sligo for over a year, he said the support he has received there has been superb. “We are very proud to be associated with IT Sligo and with the other cutting edge companies based at the Innovation Centre and we look to further extending our global reach from our base in Ireland.”
ORRECO came through Enterprise Ireland’s Propel Programme with the support of the Innovation Centre at IT Sligo.
The ORRECO service has been endorsed by many sports stars, who are household names.
• Fionnuala Britton, Olympian and 2011 European Cross country champion said: “Regular blood tests enable me to target any issues I have. It plays an essential role in reducing my chances of illness, increasing recovery and optimising performance. Recovery is one of the most important priorities, and through the monitoring of my blood work this has helped aid the application of recovery strategies.
• Padraig Harrington said: “One of the most difficult elements of competing at a world class level in professional golf is the balance between training hard to improve fitness levels whilst ensuring adequate recovery. “ORRECO have developed novel applications to find objective markers to determine that balance, and protect their athletes from overtraining and burnout. With their assistance I have been able to obtain objective information about my readiness to train and in my opinion their support is a must for athletes competing at the highest level of their respective sports.”
• Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan, Chef de Mission (Team Ireland) for London 2012 and mentor to international athletes said: “I am aware of the new ideas that ORRECO are applying with the current generation of world class performers. I think these concepts and new assays are really interesting and I am convinced they will be of benefit to athletes and coaches competing at the very highest level”.
• Mark Rowland Head Coach Nike, Oregon Track Club Elite and Olympic bronze medallist said that as coach to world class athletes he knows that training alone is not sufficient to gain a competitive edge in the modern world. “That’s why we at Oregon Track Club Elite have enlisted the ORRECO team, due to their increasing reputations as high performance sports scientists, physiologists and sports haematologist providers. Their service enables us to limit the number of days lost to over training, illness and infection.”
• Marcus O’Sullivan, head coach, Villanova Track and Field (USA) and three times World Indoor Champion 1500m: “High performance athletics is all about pushing the limits without reaching breaking point. Constant feedback from the athlete as well as proven scientific data is critical. Blood work and haematological feed-back is essential for monitoring progress and performance and is a must in today’s athletics arena. It takes you backstage behind the human body to explain the reasons for success and provide solutions to problems.”