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.

 

Wired Looks at How Fast Humans Can Run with Weyand’s Expertise

Professor Peter Weyand, director of the Locomotor Performance Laboratory in Simmons, is featured in a Wired video and article, What’s the Fastest 100 Meter Dash a Human Can Run? The premise that reporter Robbie Gonzalez examines is if it is humanly possible to run the 100 meter dash in nine seconds flat. Usain Bolt, the fastest human, runs  the 100 meter dash in 9.58 seconds. A visit with Weyand in the lab determines the answer. Click here for the video and article.

Ketterlin Geller Joins NSF-Funded Committee to Broaden Participation in STEM

Professor Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Texas Instruments Endowed Chair in Education and director of Research in Mathematics Education, has been tapped to participate in CADRE, a National Science Foudation funded steering committee to broaden participation in preK- 12 STEM education.

Part of her contribution includes co-writing briefs based on NSF supported research that underscores steps educators can take to improve STEM.

She is featured in a video about this work, produced by CADRE K-12.

Researchers in Locomotor Performance Lab Develop New Equation for Predicting Running Speed

In the recent Journal of Experimental Biology,  Simmons researchers from the Locomotor Performance Lab, present a new equation to better predict a runner’s speed.

Their findings have immediate application for running performance, injury prevention, rehab and the individualized design of running shoes, orthotics and prostheses.

Researchers include Peter Weyand, Glenn Simmons Professor of Applied Physiology and professor of biomechanics in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness; Larry Ryan, the lab’s research engineer and physicist; and Kenneth Clark, assistant professor at West Chester University in West Chester, Penn., and formerly with the lab. Read more coverage in the Huffington Post.

The Science Behind the Pogo Stick Jump

Professor Peter Weyand shared his knowledge to break down the biomechanics of XPogo demonstrations at the State Fair of Texas. In this did-you-know story, KERA reporter Courtney Collins gets to the science behind what the high-flying XPogo jumpers do. Read more here.

Weyand holds the school’s Glenn Simmons Endowed Professorship and directs the Locomotor Performance Laboratory.  He is a member of the Applied Physiology and Wellness faculty.

 

Glenn Simmons Professorship Awarded to Peter Weyand

Weyand apointment cropped
(L to R) Dean David Chard, Professor Peter Weyand, and Professor Lynn Jacobs, Applied Physiology and Wellness chair.

Peter Weyand, Ph.D., has been appointed Glenn Simmons Endowed Professor in Applied Physiology and Biomechanics by Dean David J. Chard.

Weyand, an internationally renown researcher in human running performance, teaches and directs SMU’s Locomotor Performance Laboratory. The professorship was endowed by the Simmons family in honor of Harold C. Simmons’ brother, Glenn, and Weyand’s appointment is for five years.

“I hope to be able to use the position to enhance the impact of our departmental and laboratory research and educational efforts,” Weyand says. “This will allow me to initiate a variety of strategic outreach efforts that would not be possible without it.”

 

Peter Weyand Receives Top SMU Faculty Award

Peter Weyand, director of  Locomotor Performance Lab in Simmons
Peter Weyand, director of Locomotor Performance Lab in Simmons

Associate Professor Peter Weyand, member of Simmons’ Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness, received the 2013-14 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church. Weyand, an internationally respected physiologist and biomechanist, was recognized by Provost Paul Ludden at the first general faculty meeting, Aug. 27. The prestigious award was been given to faculty since 1985.

 

Scott Davis’ Research Highlighted During MS Awareness Week

davis portraitAssistant Professor Scott Davis, director of the Applied Physiology Lab in Simmons, researches thermoregulation and blood pressure control in multiple sclerosis patients. His work is acknowledged during MS Awareness Week, a national awareness campaign. Read more.

Research on “Flopping” in Basketball

flopping001Associate Professor Peter Weyand demonstrates the physics of basketball “flopping” to the media. Weyand offered an update on his research, conducted through a $100,000 grant from Dallas Mavericks’  Mark Cuban, to understand what kind of force will knock down an athlete on the court. See video by The Dallas Morning News here.