Students Present Research at National Athletic Training Association Meeting

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 7, 2015 – Three High Point University undergraduate students presented research at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Clinical Symposia and Annual Meeting in St. Louis this summer. The meeting is the world’s largest gathering of certified athletic trainers.

Andrea Baellow, a 2015 graduate, senior Katherine Van Wert and junior Emma Zuk, all athletic training majors at HPU, shared original research they conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Yum Nguyen, assistant professor of athletic training.

Baellow received the NATA Research and Education Foundation Free Communication Undergraduate Presentation Award for her presentation, “Influence of Hip Strength and Range of Motion on Landing Kinematics Across Maturation Groups in Youth Athletes.” She has been a finalist for this award the past two years. Through her research, she determined the factors that increase the risk of an ACL injury are different in youth athletes and are dependent on their stage of maturation. These findings will help clinicians develop more specific and effective interventions to reduce the risk of ACL injuries in youth athletes.

Van Wert was named a finalist for the award for her presentation, “Influence of Static Lower Extremity Alignment on Lower Extremity Kinematics Across Functional Tasks.” Her findings show that hip flexibility is predictive of lower extremity motion across sport tasks. These findings will help future research understand the role of anatomy in lower extremity function and the most relevant factors that increase the risk of ACL injuries.

Zuk presented “Longitudinal Changes in Lower Extremity Strength and Range of Motion in Female Youth Soccer Players,” which describes how hip function changes as adolescent female soccer players increase in age. Her research showed changes in flexibility with age but no associated increase in strength over a three-year period, which may explain why adolescent female soccer players are at greatest risk of ACL injuries. Her findings are an important step toward developing effective interventions to reduce the risk of ACL injuries.

“The opportunity to present their research at a major conference has provided these students an educational opportunity that few undergraduate students get to experience,” says Nguyen. “They presented alongside the leading professionals conducting ACL research across the world. This opportunity allowed them, and High Point University, to be recognized nationally and internationally, and has provided the students with advanced knowledge to be highly competitive as they pursue future graduate studies.”

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