What does it take to win? PhD candidate lands dream job helping Toronto Blue Jays reach peak performance

- August 21, 2023

Biomechanics and physiology researcher Josh Goreham helps Jays players improve their performance levels and reduce their risk of injury. (Provided photo)
Biomechanics and physiology researcher Josh Goreham helps Jays players improve their performance levels and reduce their risk of injury. (Provided photo)

Josh Goreham (BSc’12, MSc’14) is motivated in both his academic and professional work by the prospect of helping people to become the strongest, healthiest versions of themselves.

Goreham has put the skills he's learned in the PhD in Health program such as data analysis, sport science, use of sensors and more to work in helping him effectively execute his professional responsibilities as a lead performance analyst for the Toronto Blue Jays.

“If you understand the equipment and what it’s measuring, it provides you with so much data. Going through that and being able to analyze it efficiently and effectively allows you to tell a story,” he says.

Across the course of his professional career and PhD education, Goreham has learned that collaborative approaches to sport science are often the most successful. Equipped with this understanding, he appreciates the interprofessional environment fostered by the Blue Jays franchise. Goreham works as an intermediary between trainers, analysts, scouts, coaches, and players.

“Everybody has their role, but everyone’s work is intertwined. If I think of something that may help the team, I can feel free to suggest it to the Medical Director or Strength Coach or someone else… it’s super collaborative,” he says.

'My goal is to work for the Blue Jays'

Goreham insists that family, friend, and faculty support have been integral to his academic and professional success. The encouragements he received from his wife and from a close friend are what gave him the courage to apply for his current role. He was a month into paternity leave when the opportunity arose to apply for his job with the Blue Jays.

“I have been a baseball fan my whole life. Nine years ago I wrote on a piece of paper: ‘my goal is to work for the Blue Jays,’” Goreham says.

Goreham was introduced to the world of sport science through his internship with Canadian Sport Institute Atlantic, which he completed during his masters degree. Through Canadian Sport Institute Atlantic, he received the opportunities to work with MitacsCanoe Kayak Canada and Own the Podium — a Canadian not-for-profit organization that conducts high-performance sport research and provides professional guidance for Olympians and Paralympians.

Through Own the Podium, Goreham had the “surreal” experiences of working as a Performance Technology/Analysis Specialist at the Lima 2019 Summer Pan American Games and at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Goreham has continued to collaborate with the Own the Podium across the course of his PhD studies by conducting much of his research through their organization.

Staying grounded

Upon joining Dal’s PhD in Health program in 2017, Goreham was immediately impressed by the program’s breadth of research specializations. He insists that the training he’s received in qualitative and quantitative research methods has been invaluable in his work with the Blue Jays. He says the program’s flexible nature has allowed him to explore educational and professional opportunities in addition to traditional lab-based research. He plans to defend his thesis in August.

Goreham is grateful to his PhD supervisor, Dr. Michel Ladouceur, and his kinesiology professors in the School of Health and Human Performance. With their support, Goreham honed his critical-thinking skills and gained a well-rounded understanding of different concepts that have been invaluable in his new role.

As he looks to the future, Goreham is excited for all that’s to come for sports science. While technology continues to boom in his field, Goreham hopes to stay grounded in his biomechanics and physiology research. Ultimately, he aspires to help the Toronto Blue Jays become the best team they can be, by continuing to ask himself: what does it take to win?


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