The school of Kinesiology and Acadia Athletics are working together to provide exciting learning experiences for students and to improve high-performance student-athletes. This collaboration is beneficial for both individual students and Acadia’s varsity teams.
Many of Acadia’s kinesiology students are also varsity athletes, making the integration between Kinesiology and Athletics effortless and providing plenty of first-hand research and experiential opportunities.
Scott Landry, Director of motion Laboratory of Applied Biometrics (mLAb) focuses on risk factors of athletic injuries. His research team has recruited student-athletes for injury prevention research, even enlisting the help of 200 Acadia student-athletes to participate in a study for Adidas footwear.
Landry says that what makes students so open to help is the university’s small size and the fact that in the Kinesiology department research programs are “mainly run and managed by undergraduate students.”
Colin King, Assistant Head Athletic Therapist with Acadia Athletics and Kinesiology faculty member, explains that competitive programs in Kinesiology, such as Sports Injury Assessment and Management (SIAM) allow for strong collaborations between students and student-athletes. In the SIAM program, third and fourth year students are placed with varsity teams through an interview process and are supervised by professors. Many SIAM students, for example, are varsity athletes themselves, who work with their own teams.
“They’re valued members of the team. They’re there just as many hours as the athletes are. Our students are helping multiple people so they might need to be there two hours ahead of time because they have to do all these different techniques on people before a match or game.”
He adds that although a lot of Kinesiology students have athletics backgrounds, many are interested in healthcare professions and this early hands-on practical experience gives students a solid idea on how healthcare environments operate.
“At Acadia, the process is a lot more collaborative between the athletic therapy side, the strength and conditioning side and other physicians involved,” he says.
“It’s useful for students because they can see how collaborative care works and that’s usual if you look at healthcare and what they’re moving toward -- you routinely see multiple professionals in one facility.”
To facilitate this collaborative effort, Acadia Athletics has partnered with Kinduct Technologies, a platform where all sports science professionals and students have access to data, notes and information related to student-athletes and teams, to keep track of their injuries and rehabilitation progress in all aspects of their athletic process.
This integration is also essential from the perspective of Acadia Athletics. Kevin Dickie, Director of Athletics, says that this collaborative approach is beneficial to Acadia’s varsity teams and now, more than ever, Acadia Athletics is focused on increasing and maintaining athletic success.
“The link between Kinesiology and sports boils down to creating a high-performance environment,” he says, “and recognizes the key to achieving this goal is for all sports sciences to work together.”
As a result, resources for student-athletes have become a priority. “We have increased the sports sciences and high-performance avenues to all our teams,” says Dickie.
In addition to Kinduct technologies, which is used by professional athletic teams, the Stevens Centre, a high-performance gym for varsity athletes on campus is “state of the art and as good a gym as you can find in Canada.”
Acadia Athletics continues to work towards integrating other departments and students in Nutrition and Dietetics or Strength and Conditioning to provide holistic care for athletes.
Elliott Richardson, Head of Strength and Conditioning, says that his department’s goal, with the help of student interns in various fields of study, is to “improve the physical abilities of the student-athletes.”
Richardson says that strength and conditioning “ties into being more resilient and reducing the frequency of injury as well as the amount of time athletes spend being injured so that we can have our best players on the field but also to give us a competitive advantage in terms of having better overall athletes at Acadia.”
He further stresses the importance of all sports sciences working together and sharing information, saying “now we can see how lack of sleep or increased stress impact athletic therapy. We can recognize if someone isn’t eating well and therefore not sleeping well. We can see how lack of sleep or increased stress impact injury because that might impact athletic therapy. And we know that when people aren’t well rested or not eating well, they’re more susceptible to being injured and we can take that information and relay it to coaches.”
Overall, the goal of Richardson, along with other coaches and faculty members, is to work on the integration of all sports sciences to ensure success both in athletics and academics for every one of Acadia’s almost 300 student-athletes.