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ATSU faculty research recognized by NSCA

MESA, Ariz. (Aug. 1, 2008 ) – Matt Rhea, Ph.D., director of the Human Movement program at A.T. Still University’s (ATSU) Arizona School of Health Sciences, was named 2008 Outstanding Young Investigator of the Year at the annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) on July 11. Two human movement students also made presentations at the meeting, which was held at Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Dr. Rhea was nominated in recognition of his ongoing research in the field of sports performance enhancement. His work with college and professional sports teams, including Arizona State University, University of Louisville, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the San Francisco Giants, has been instrumental in his research efforts.

“This award is quite an honor due to the nature of the people who selected me to be the recipient – representatives of the top scientists and professionals in the world of sports conditioning,” said Dr. Rhea. “The fact they view me as one of the top young minds in our field is quite an honor.

“I also think it reflects well on my research and validates my approach to evidence-based practice, which is woven throughout the Human Movement program at ATSU. It certainly speaks well of the institution and our efforts to recruit and support innovative scholars in our respective areas,” he said.

According to Eric Sauers, Ph.D., ATC, chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at ATSU, Dr. Rhea’s scholarly approach to education through the integration of science and practice is reflected in the way he has developed the post-professional Human Movement program.

“He is truly bringing evidence-based practice to the field of strength and conditioning,” said Dr. Sauers. “This award is a tremendous achievement for Dr. Rhea and represents the highest honor that a young scholar can receive from the NSCA, the largest and most influential professional membership organization for strength and conditioning in the world.

“We are all very excited for Dr. Rhea as he graduates his first class of students from the Human Movement program, and for receiving this national recognition for outstanding scholarly contributions to his field,” said Dr. Sauers.

The majority of ATSU’s human movement students are NCSA members, two of which traveled to Las Vegas with Dr. Rhea as conference presenters. Derek Bunker presented on shoulder injury trends among baseball players, and Danielle Lavigne presented on functional movement among soccer players. Both students, who received no additional academic credit for the presentations, will graduate from ATSU’s Human Movement program August 2 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

“The fact that Derek and Danielle’s work for their NSCA presentations was done in addition to the rigorous academic requirements of the program speaks highly of their desire to contribute to the development of kinesiology and to set themselves up as leaders in the field,” said Dr. Rhea. “Presenting at the conference was a big accomplishment for them.”

The Human Movement program at ATSU is designed to assist students in the development of comprehensive knowledge of human movement science, functional anatomy, physiology and kinesiology, as well as functional assessment and exercise program design. Students focus on sports conditioning, geriatric exercise science, core performance, and corrective exercise strategies, and are taught by leading scholars and professionals in exercise related areas whose research has been published and presented in leading sources around the world.


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