Brain sciences emerge in conversations about elite sport

We were chuffed and impressed to see the slideshow about amputees learning impossible movements on Mike Nelson’s extreme human performance blog. We agree that our study has implications for elite sport and human performance, particularly when one considers that elite athletes are asking the absolute most of their brain as well as their body.  Actually, there are other things that we have been doing that were developed in response to observing problems in patients with chronic painful disease that are also relevant. For example, another hat that I (Lorimer) have is as a consultant to some high performance sports programs.

Athletes also suffer from chronic painful disorders that compromise their ability to perform. They often have every intervention one could think of if one was to confine oneself to interventions based on Renet Descartes’ idea of pain. We have taken an alternative approach in some of these conditions, an approach that interrogates and then treats problems with brain representation of the body and contextual influences on pain and motor control – ‘Training the Brain’. We are in phase one of this pursuit, which means we are well short of undertaking clinical trials, which means, there is no strong evidence for us to determine efficacy. However, my impression is that it is very promising. I encourage all of you clinicians and athletes to keep an open mind as to the role and potential therapeutic target of the brain in human performance and performance-related disorders, perhaps wrongly categorised as ‘musculoskeletal’. Finally, congrats Mike Nelson on a great blog post.


  1. WOW! I checked in the blog here and found a great write up with my name attached. Eeek. I feel deeply flattered and honored. Thank you very much and a HUGE thanks to all the researchers and teachers that I have learned from since I am truly standing on the shoulders of giants. Thanks to all!

    Keep us updated on the new studies in sports performance going on as I am very excited to get more “hard data” on this aspect in the near future. From my personal experience and from other trainers that are using similar methods, I do believe it works exceedingly well.

    Thanks again and I look forward to learning much more here as always. Keep up the great work!
    Rock on
    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

    Lorimer Reply:

    thanks mike. chuffed. L