When I was a student, I was a sprinter and belonged to a track and field club at a university in Japan. I often experienced severe muscle soreness after training. I asked a lecturer of Sports Science in the university what the cause of my muscle soreness was after training. He told me that "lactate" was responsible for it, and "it was a common sense."I believed it for 6 years until I found a statement in a scientific article stating that "lactate" is not a cause of muscle soreness that develops several hours after exercise, which is also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This was the start of my research about muscle damage and DOMS. A quarter century later, I am still asking the same question of "what is the cause of DOMS?" but at a different level.
Over the last 20 years, "muscle damage" and "DOMS" have been the main topic of my research, and I have carried out many studies and published more than 50 scientific journal articles relating to the topic. However, the more I study about it, the more I realize how much I do not know! This is why I am still wrestling with the topic, and trying to understand better how "muscle damage" results in DOMS. We now know that "eccentric contractions" in which skeletal muscle fibres are lengthened while producing force induce muscle damage, especially when they are performed without previous training. We also know that DOMS is one of the symptoms of muscle damage. However, we still do not know how exactly DOMS is induced. I want to know this "perfectly" before I die!
I am very lucky to have a position to be able to investigate it. Since I moved to ECU five years ago (April, 2004), I have been very fortunate to work with many postgraduate students and colleagues who share their ideas with me and stimulate my research interests further. Although DOMS and muscle damage are still my main topic, I am now interested in other topics such as fatigue, recovery interventions, injury preventions, brain stimulation, exercise for health and diseases, and "exergaming" (exercise with games). There are many things to be investigated, and my research life seems endless. How wonderful it is to be a researcher!