Premiership football team Newcastle United is the latest elite squad to recruit the services of ORRECO, a Sligo-based-company co-owned by a Galway scientist that provides a pioneering ‘bio-analytics’ service that helps athletes optimise performance and reduce the number of training days lost to illness and injury.
Based in IT Sligo’ Innovation Centre, ORRECO was formed by sports scientist and Renmore native Dr Brian Moore, and consultant physician, Dr Andrew Hodgson in 2010 and is an Enterprise Ireland High Potential Start-Up.
Through its ‘Big Data’ approach, ORRECO have successfully identified patterns in biological markers and training data that correspond with both excellent and at times instances of under-performance. Their objective data-advanced blood and saliva testing - teamed with subjective coaching feedback, helps athletes reach peak performance and reduce the number of training days lost to illness and Injury.
Newcastle United FC club doctor, Paul Catterson explains; “Monitoring the biomarkers of our squad across a season gives us additional information about how each individual player is responding to both the training and match load.
“ORRECO provide us with rapid, reliable results and most importantly their multi-disciplinary team can provide us with elite sport - specific feedback. We decided to extend their monitoring after a very successful pilot programme,” he said.
Members of the ORRECO team have already worked with a wide range of high calibre sports stars including golfer Padraig Harrington, athletes Paula Radcliffe, Mo Farah, and Fionnuala Britton, the Nike Oregon Track Club and the British Olympic Sailing Squad. Last year it signed a contract with the Irish Institute of Sport which saw its team work with 50 Irish international athletes in the lead up to the London Olympics.
This deal with Newcastle United represents a noteworthy step for the company and signifies a shift in professional sport toward actionable analytics. Harvard Medical School’s Professor of Haematology Carlo Brugnara said “ORRECO’s approach has the potential to ‘revolutionize’ the use of biomarkers in professional sport and deepen our understanding of the physiology of world class athletes”. He added that in time, the ORRECO teams’ ideas also have the potential to be applied to amateur athletes who are training for their own events.
The ORRECO integrated team of world class practitioners includes medical doctors, physiologists, biomedical scientists, biostatisticians, and clinical and performance nutritionists.
A key part of the ORRECO service is an early warning signal for athletes who may be in danger of over-training. “Elite players and 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 in Sligo, ORRECO 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.
Based at the Innovation Centre in IT Sligo for three years, Dr Moore said the support he has received there has been critical. “We are very proud to be associated with IT Sligo and Enterprise Ireland and with the other cutting edge companies based at IT Sligo’s Innovation Centre and we look to further extending our global reach from our base in Sligo”. ORRECO came through Enterprise Ireland’s Propel Programme with the support of the Innovation Centre at IT Sligo.