Wednesday, November 10, 2021

SLU PT and MD Students Engage in Research to Keep Student-Athletes Safe

Several undergraduate and graduate Physical Therapy and Medical students at Saint Louis University have seized the opportunity to work part-time and gain research experience in Dr. Oluwatoyosi (Olu) Owoeye’s lab.

Student assistants: Jemma Kim, Meena Chetty, Mark Moyer, Dr. 
Oluwatoyosi (Olu) Owoeye, Natania Nguyen, Ian Modde – Not pictured: Emily Redpath, Kendall Cunningham, Michael Illes, Abigail Frech

Jemma Kim (Class of 2023), one of the student project leads, conducting an isometric strength test on a student athlete's quadriceps muscle during a baseline testing session.  Jemma is also a co-author on a systematic review in preparation for Dr. Owoeye's lab.

The students have had the opportunity to assist Dr. Owoeye with enrolling participants, conducting baseline testing, data collection and management, and results dissemination for the RICHLoad project. The RICHLoad Project (Reducing Injuries among College atHletes through Load management) aims to investigate the relationship between weekly cumulative load (i.e., training, practice and game load) and musculoskeletal injury risk among soccer and basketball student-athletes using a multivariable prediction model (which considers other established risk factors for injury). Among other novel findings, the project will determine reference values for “safe” cumulative load thresholds that will be used to develop an algorithm in collaboration with the Computer Science Department for the RICHLoad Software.  This algorithm will comprise a mobile app and an athlete monitoring dashboard that will be implemented and evaluated in subsequent collegiate soccer and basketball seasons. Ultimately, the RICHLoad Software will guide coaches and medical staff in evidence-informed load management decisions and related interventions to minimize fatigue, reduce the risk of injury, and maximize performance among student-athletes. Further information about the RICHLoad Project and the preliminary RICHLoad - SLU data collection app can be found here.

This RICHLoad Project is a multidisciplinary and collaborative project and has required the assistance of many from the St. Louis community. Co-investigators include Dr. Jamil Neme (team physician for the Saint Louis Billikens) from the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Dr. Flavio Esposito from the Computer Science Department & School of Engineering, Dr. Paula Buchanan from the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Dr. Anthony Breitbach from the Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training, Robert Hornnet from the Department of Athletics and Andy Florian Irakoze from the Computer Science Department. This project has partnered with SLU and Harris Stowe Athletics and has received funding through the Applied Health Research Grant. Dr. Owoeye is the principal investigator on the RICHLoad Project and he directs the Injury Prevention and Health Promotion (P2) Lab within the Physical Therapy and Athletic Training Department.

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