Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont has undergone tests at Leeds Beckett University as part of a charity challenge to lose more than three stone by May.
Beaumont and Salford Red Devils counterpart Marwan Koukask are taking part in the so-called ‘Doc and Dek’ Charity Challenge to reduce their weight to 15 and a half stone by the time their teams meet at the Dacia Magic Weekend in Newcastle on May 21.
Whoever loses least out of Derek and Marwan will donate £5,000 to be shared between charities closely affiliated with rugby league, the Steve Prescott Foundation and Lizzie Jones Foundation. On top of that, for every pound in weight either is over their target weight they will donate £1,000.
Derek – just shy of 19 stone at the start of the challenge last month – attended Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie Research Institute on Thursday to undergo a state of the art DXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan to shed light on measurements like lean mass, bone density and levels of different types of fat.
The scan was carried out by Senior Research Fellow Dr Karen Hind who is leading a major rugby-related study, the UK Rugby Health Research Project, into the long-term health effects of playing rugby.
Speaking afterwards, Derek said: “Some of the information I’ve got confirms what I know but it scientifically backs up how important it is to do what I’m doing – fat round organs and bone density, it’s huge and I will take some time to read through it.
“It adds to the motivation of needing to do it. What it says is it’s not just about what you weigh.
“At the same time as losing weight and working in the gym it’s about getting healthy and within range of something that’s acceptable really.”
Dr Hind explained that the DXA scan gave Derek a fuller picture of the changes that could take place to his body as he progresses with the challenge.
“We all know if you are on a weight loss programme your weight may potentially stay the same but you might have a change in the body composition which is actually healthier,” she said.
“The DXA provides three compartments – the muscle, the bone and the fat analysis. That way you can actually see what’s going on.
“An additional benefit of this is the ability of the DXA to estimate the visceral fat. That’s a really bad fat so hopefully if Derek’s doing it right for the whole of the challenge, by the end of the challenge he will have lost some visceral fat which has major health implications.”
Dr Hind is also continuing to recruit those who have been involved in playing rugby union or rugby league for the UK Rugby Health Research Project which launched on September 15.
The study will contribute to large scale, international evidence on player health post-retirement.
“Recruitment is going well so far with almost 200 ex-rugby players signed up to the project. We are now aiming for greater representation from retired-professional and retired semi-professional players looking at both codes and so that results are representative across the board,” Dr Hind said.
To take part in the project, there is one online neurocognitive (CNSVS) test and an online survey which explores general health and wellbeing.
Meanwhile clinical assessments at Leeds Beckett include bone, joint and body composition evaluation through the DXA scan, balance and neuromuscular assessments and a cardiometabolic examination by blood test and electrocardiogram (ECG).
Dr Hind added: “We really want to engage with the players themselves so everyone who takes part in the project will do their clinical neurocognitive tests online and we’ll endeavour to get their results directly to them within the same month.
“They will actually have their individual report and if they have any concerns they can contact us or they can take that report to their doctor.
“It’s very much about involving the players and not just treating them as a research subject. All those taking part in the clinic-based tests will receive a health MOT from our team of experts.”
Details on how to take part in the research can be found at www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/ukrugbyhealth