WNYC Radiolab Features Weyand’s Research on NBA Basketball Flops

 

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher (6) hits the floor as he fouls Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden during the first half of Game 4 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series at Toyota Center on Monday, April 29, 2013, in Houston. ( Smiley N. Pool / Houston Chronicle )

In an end-of-year piece, public radio’s Radiolab focused on “flops” as people continue to contend with Covid and the challenges it brings. However, the segment with Professor Peter Weyand and the discussion of his research on NBA basketball flops is fun. Listen here.

 

SMU Simmons Joins Forces With Children’s Health To Harness The Power of Sports To Improve Kids’ Well-Being

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU and Children’s Health through its Children’s Health Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine are launching a collaboration dedicated to leveraging the transformational power of sports to improve the health, activity levels and well-being of kids. The Youth Sports Impact Partnership, a unique university-hospital relationship, will use an evidence-based approach to improve access to youth sports, prevent injury and share age-appropriate training and development practices.

“The Children’s Health Andrews Institute understands the importance of sports and play as key parts of a healthy childhood,” says Chad Gilliland, senior director of Surgical Programs at Children’s Health Andrews Institute. “With our focus on keeping youth athletes on the field, we will take a proactive approach to making participation in youth sports healthy and accessible to all North Texas children.”

Despite broad participation and interest, unaddressed issues limit the positive impact of youth sports in America:

  • Access to organized youth sports is limited by family income. According to the 2020 Census, only 23.4 percent of children aged 6 to 11 living below the poverty line participate in sports.
  • The CDC reports that fewer than 24 percent of children are physically active every day, leading to serious health problems like childhood obesity.
  • Volunteer coaches are the backbone of organized youth sports, but only 10 percent receive any kind of relevant training, leading to youth injury and burnout, according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

In response, this collaboration will generate research in sports medicine and athletic development, which will be the basis of leadership training for coaches and continuing education for parents. Long-range plans for this collaboration include the creation of an index to measure access to play in North Texas communities, development of a training and injury-prevention program for school and volunteer coaches, and performance research on elite athletes to study best practices in training and coaching.

Researchers also plan to create social impact programming designed to break down the barriers to sports and active play often more prevalent in underserved communities.

The partnership will feature the expertise of Dr. James Andrews, founder and director of the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and SMU biomechanist Peter Weyand, who directs the Locomotor Performance Lab in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development – both internationally renowned for their work with athletes across a spectrum of ages and abilities.

Dr. Andrews is one of the founding members of Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, Alabama, and Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Florida. He also is cofounder of the American Sports Medicine Institute, a non-profit institute dedicated to injury prevention, education and research in orthopaedic and sports medicine.

Through sports medicine fellowships, he has mentored more than 350 orthopaedic and sports medicine fellows and more than 84 primary care sports medicine fellows. Andrews also serves as a team physician or consultant to Auburn University and University of Alabama athletic programs along with the NFL’s Washington football team and the New Orleans Saints.

“This partnership will benefit the field of sports medicine and the entire youth sports sector by focusing on injury prevention and performance through a collaborative effort for sports medicine professionals and coaches across the industry,” Andrews says.

Peter Weyand’s research on the scientific basis of human performance has appeared in top-tier scientific journals and continues to influence contemporary performance training practices.

“As a researcher, I have had the opportunity to observe the scientific benefits of exercise and activity,” Weyand says. “I look forward to the opportunity to use science to inspire kids to be active, have fun and learn all at the same time.”

Prior to joining SMU in 2008, Weyand directed research at Harvard University’s Concord Field Station and the Rice University Locomotion Laboratory. His research subjects have included athletes of all ages and abilities, including some of the swiftest runners on the planet, from Michael Johnson to Usain Bolt, and numerous Paralympic champions. His work has been featured in BBC, NPR, the New York Times, ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Weyand holds the Glenn Simmons Endowed Professorship of Applied Physiology and Biomechanics in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness at SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

“SMU’s Simmons School is dedicated to developing and understanding evidence-based best practices for childhood and human development,” said Simmons School Dean Stephanie Knight. “Our faculty members are internationally known for their strengths in the science of human performance, coaching and leadership, and STEM education. This partnership offers a new way for Simmons to impact the lives of children in a positive way.”

For more information, please visit Youth Sports Impact Partnership or contact Greg Weatherford II, SMU Simmons School’s director of community engagement and special projects, at 214-768-1779 or gweatherford@smu.edu.

 

An Olympian Moment: NYT Features Locomotor Performance Lab and Weyand’s Work to Show Differences in Running Fast and Running Far

Three elite runners came to SMU’s Locomotor Performance Lab to show what differentiates running fast and running far for the New York Times. Dr. Peter Weyand, who directs the lab and research, informs what actually happens with the athletes as they hit the ground. The visually compelling piece can be seen here. 

The information enhances knowledge about how races –Olympian or otherwise–unfold.

 

The American Society of Biomechanics Honors Peter Weyand with Hay Award

Simmons Professor Peter Weyand will receive the Jim Hay Memorial Award for Research in Sports and Exercise from the American Society of Biomechanics during its annual conference in August. The award recognizes “originality, quality, and depth of biomechanics research that addresses fundamental research questions relevant to extraordinary demands imposed in sport and exercise.”

His scholarly work focuses on mechanics, metabolism, and performance at the whole-body level. His work is well-known to academics and professionals in various fields. Because of his expertise,  he has served as a lead investigator in several high-profile projects. These include “Michael Johnson, Wired Athlete,” “Physics of Basketball Flopping,” and the Olympic eligibility cases of amputee sprinters Oscar Pistorius and Blake Leeper considered by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland.

Weyand holds the Glenn Simmons Endowed Professorship of Applied Physiology and Biomechanics in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness.

To see the Hay Award symposium, watch the YouTube video below.

Peter Weyand’s Testing of Paralympic Sprinter Blake Leeper on His Use of Long Running Blades Forms Basis of World Athletics’ Ruling

DALLAS (SMU) – A World Athletics panel ruling that Paralympic sprinter Blake Leeper cannot compete using unnaturally long, blade-like prostheses at the Tokyo Olympics was based on research led by renowned SMU human speed expert Peter Weyand.

The governing body for track and field athletes said Monday that Leeper’s disproportionately long prostheses, would give him an “overall competitive advantage”. The ruling follows testing by Weyand and University of Montana professor Matt Bundle on Leeper and his running specific prostheses (RSPs) at SMU Locomotor Performance Laboratory.

Weyand is Glenn Simmons Professor of Applied Physiology and professor of biomechanics in the Department of Applied Physiology & Wellness in SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education & Human Development. He also runs the SMU Locomotor laboratory and has done extensive analysis of many professional sprinters, including Usain Bolt and Oscar Pistorius. Bundle is the director of University of Montana’s Biomechanics Lab.

In their report to the panel, Weyand and Bundle provided a detailed explanation of why, all other things being equal, increased leg length causes increased running speed. Previous Weyand studies have shown there is a close correlation between an athlete’s leg length and ground contact length, such as the distance that a runner’s body travels while their foot is in contact with the ground.

“If the height of Mr. Leeper’s RSPs was reduced by 15 centimeters to his natural anatomical leg length so that Mr. Leeper ran at his Maximum Allowable Standing Height (MASH), then his top speed would be likely to reduce from 11.4 m/s to 9.8 m/s, and his overall 400m time would be likely to increase by approximately eight seconds,” Weyand and Bundle wrote.

Leeper, who was born without legs below his knees, won two Paralympic medals at London 2012 and had appealed with World Athletics to be able to compete in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Tests done at Southern Methodist University in February and March determined that Leeper’s standing height was measured at 184 centimeters with a leg length of 104 centimeters.

Under the panel’s Maximum Allowable Standing Height (MASH) rule, the 31-year-old American double amputee is not permitted to run at a height greater than 174.4 centimeters.

“The decision means Mr Leeper cannot compete wearing these new RSPs at World Athletics’ major international events… or the Olympic Games,” World Athletics said in a statement on Monday.

 

Four Faculty Members Nominated for 2021 HOPE Award

Three Applied Physiology and Wellness faculty members, Caitlin Anderson, David Bertrand, and Brian Fennig, and Teaching and Learning Department Chair, Tim Jacobbe, were among a distinguished group of faculty nominated by students for the 2021 HOPE (Honoring Our Professor’s Excellence) award.

The sponsor, Residence Life & Student Housing, believes that it is important to highlight those professors who have gone above and beyond their role. Congratulations to these Simmons faculty members for receiving high recognition from students.

Body Temperature Regulation Study by Davis Shows Tattoos Can Cause Bodies to Overheat

Associate Professor Scott Davis and his team of researchers conducted a study to see if tattoos affect body temperature, and the conclusion is that extensive tattooing may suppress sweating and cause the body to overheat.

His latest research was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, and the article can be read here.

WebMD also covered the study for its popular medical and health website here.

Davis directs Simmons’ Applied Physiology Laboratory in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness. He is also currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

 

Eight New Faculty Members Join Simmons

The Simmons School welcomes new faculty members to the Departments of Teaching &  Learning, and Applied Physiology and Wellness.

Joining Teaching & Learning are

In Applied Physiology and Wellness, they are

Simmons looks forward to their contributions and ideas.

Faculty Promotions in Simmons

With the conclusion of the spring semester the Simmons School is happy to announce the following faculty promotions:

Congratulations to Michael Harris (Education Policy and Leadership) who was promoted to Full Professor, and to Sushmita Purkayastha (Applied Physiology and Wellness) and Meredith Richards (Education Policy and Leadership) who received tenure and were promoted to Associate Professors.

Clinical faculty promotions include four who moved from Clinical Assistant to Clinical Associate status:  Roxanne Burleson (Education Policy and Leadership), Greta Davis (Dispute Resolution and Counseling), Amy Ferrell (Teaching and Learning), and Diane Gifford (Teaching and Learning).  Three faculty were promoted from Clinical Associate to Clinical Full: Margaret Jacome (Dispute Resolution and Counseling), Misty Solt (Dispute Resolution and Counseling, and Ashley Tull (Education Policy and Leadership). Plaudits to them.

Bing Explains to CBS News the Need for More COVID-19 Testing for Getting Back to Work

Dr. Eric Bing, Professor of Global Health, Simmons School

Professor Eric Bing, Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness, is interviewed by CBS News on what Texas needs to do for work to resume. He says more testing has to occur to establish a baseline, otherwise it will be difficult to know about a community’s health, and more COVID-19 cases will rise. According to CBS News, Texas only has tested one percent of the population to date.

An epidemiologist, Bing is a professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU. He previously served with the George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow and director of global health.

 

Professor Bing speaks to CBS News in a May 7, 2020 follow up report on the re-opening businesses during spikes in COVID-19 cases.