Tallahassee—Auburn University and Florida A&M University began the first in a series of collaborative efforts that will positively impact athletic performance, health disparities among African American women, and physical development. Participants from both universities shared important Kinesiology findings and fielded questions from coaches, physical education professors and Ph.D. candidates who discussed their research.
FAMU Quarterback Coach Marty Spieler was interested in presentations on ways to improve the performance of players and wanted to learn more. The science also uses new analytical methods that improve recruiting. These techniques often used by professional scouts will help smaller universities like FAMU, search for athletic talent. The importance of the foot to the human body and its mobility, evolution and development was discussed as was the arch. The group appears to be interested in designing an “intervention” that will create shoes that stimulate and assist in proper foot development at various stages. That idea was pitched by Auburn Biomechanics Ph.D. candidate Christopher Wilburn who studied at Morehouse College. Also an Auburn Ph.D. candidate in Biomechanics is Portia Williams, who was an undergraduate at FAMU. According to Auburn liaison Mary Rudisill, Ph.D., this joint effort provides “diversity, by connecting students, and faculty through shared collaboration allowing the opportunity to advance the science of Kinesiology.” The group hopes the Ph.D. candidates return to FAMU classrooms to teach.
“Auburn has some experiences we don’t have and FAMU certainly has distinctions also. Kinesiology impacts us in so many ways; we need to expose and expand it, especially in minority communities,” according to FAMU liaison Sarah Price, Ph.D. The next step in the Auburn-FAMU collaboration is to move quickly to decide the subject of a research project.
Kinesiology graduates are accounting for increasing numbers of medical school applicants, as well as other professional programs like physical and occupational therapy.