NTU academic awarded OBE for services to sport and sports science

8 January 2019

An academic who captained the Great Britain hockey squad to a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona has been awarded with an OBE for services to sport and sports science.

Professor Mary Nevill, Head of Sports Science at Nottingham Trent University, was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours list.

Professor Nevill’s research focuses on the contribution of sport and physical activity to the health, performance and development of young people. Her work has directed the activities of charities and government towards the most effective interventions to improve the health and sports participation of children and adolescents.

She has collaborated with a number of charities, such as the Youth Sports Trust and Chance to Shine, to monitor and evaluate the impact of initiatives ranging from increasing mass participation to development of elite performance.

Her work on the relative age effect in sport changed the Lawn Tennis Association policy for age-group selection, recording performance in six months blocks rather than over 1-2 years. She verified that school-based healthy lifestyles intervention produced positive changes in physical activity levels of pupils.

She also found that a low glycaemic index breakfast combined with exercise optimises cognitive function in young people – something which has clear implications for the planning of the school day.

Professor Nevill - who is based in NTU's School of Science and Technology - also has extensive involvement in sport as a volunteer. She was a member of the UK Sports Council (1998-2000), Chairman of the International Teams Committee for the English Hockey Association (1997-2001) and was responsible for writing the East Midlands Regional Plan for Sport in 2003-2005.

Until 2016 she was deputy chair for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

As an elite athlete, Professor Nevill also competed in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, in the first British women’s hockey team ever to compete in an Olympic Games.

Professor Nevill said: “I was very surprised and pleased to receive this award. Everything I have achieved in sport and at work has been a team effort so I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of myself and my excellent colleagues in both environments.”

Professor Mary O’Neill, the Dean of Nottingham Trent University’s School of Science and Technology, added: “The OBE is a recognition for the inspirational leadership that Mary has shown as a sportswoman and an academic, creating a supportive environment of high collegiality to lead her colleagues to excellence.”

Juergen Maier, Siemens UK Chief Executive and NTU alumnus, honorary graduate and recently-appointed governor, received a CBE in the New Year Honours list.


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