Friday, August 16, 2019

Exercise Science Research Gets National Spotlight

Research ranging from NFL Scouting Combine performance to pre-workout supplements to neuromuscular fatigue and muscle swelling were among the topics presented by Bloomsburg University exercise science students this summer at the National Strength and Conditioning Association National Conference in Washington, D.C.

“NSCA was an amazing experience for me,” said Jordynn Kurcoba ‘19, a BU alumna who’s now pursuing a master’s in exercise science. “I never thought I would be interested in research, but my professors pushed me to find something I enjoyed in order to present at the conference. I’m on the path of going into strength and conditioning, so this was an amazing opportunity for me.”

Kurcoba’s research focused on the changes in size and physical performance in the NFL Scouting Combine from 2006-08 to 2016-18. To do that, she researched combine results in body mass, height, bench press repetitions, L-drill, pro-agility drill, vertical jump, broad jump and 40-yd dash time from 1,786 football players. According to Kurcoba, the results were then grouped by positions — offensive line, defensive line, running back, tight ends, linebacker, defensive back and wide receiver.

“Any other positions were excluded,” Kurcoba said. “From there we ran independent samples t-tests to measure any changes in these variables over the 10-year time period. The purpose of this was to assess the changes seen over this time and be able to use this information to tailor an appropriate athletes training.”

Marquez Norford’s research coincidently involved football as well. However, his had a personal connection and looked at player recovery and conditioning — what happens to an athlete’s body over the course of a season.

“As a former athlete at BU, I know the rigors of being a student athlete and how they can take a tole on one’s body,” said Norford ’17, ‘19M, a former Huskies football player who recently graduated with a master’s degree in exercise science. “We felt the NSCA was the perfect place to present the conclusions we were able to draw. It was a pleasure to be able to present at the national conference and be nominated for the award of ‘Best Masters Research Project.’”

Although not necessarily tied to football, Meghan Magee’s research of a multi-ingredient pre-workout supplement and its effects on repeated sprint ability and exertion did have a BU connection. “A former graduate of the exercise science master’s program works for Cenegenics, which is the company that sent us the supplement, asked us if we’d be willing to conduct a study using it,” said Magee ‘17, ‘19M, noting some key takeaways from NSCA were the importance of networking and presenting research. “You can learn a lot from other people with different perspectives, and some people may be able to provide great opportunities for you.”

The best part about NSCA for Norford was just presenting in front of many different minds in the exercise science field and hearing their feedback. “More than anything, I learned how to be a professional and interact with other professionals while learning about other facets of our field,” Norford said. “Without my master’s degree from BU, I wouldn’t be where I am today. When interviewing for jobs, interviewers were all impressed with the amount of accomplishments I gained throughout my experience at BU.” He added, “I was able to get more hands-on experience out in the real world, as opposed to being in the classroom. I have the exercise science staff to thank for getting me that opportunity. Now, I work for Applied Body Science in Chad’s Ford, Pa., and it’s honestly a dream come true. I know that I have a future here.”

According to Kurcoba, the NSCA experience was also a great networking opportunity for her too.
“That was they key part of this conference for me,” Kurcoba said. “I met so many amazing people in the field of strength and conditioning and have already been contacting some of them to keep in touch after! I love how well rounded this (BU) program has made me, showing me that just because I want to work in the field and not in a lab doesn’t mean that there isn’t research opportunities for me that I actually enjoy.”

For Magee, NSCA officially concluded her BU chapter and now readies for her pursuit of a Ph.d. beginning this fall at George Mason University.
“As a graduate of both the undergraduate and graduate program, I can definitely say all the faculty want the students to succeed in any path they choose to take after graduation,” Magee said. “Bloomsburg’s exercise science program has prepared me for my next step in my academic career.”

Research Presentations
  • Monitoring of Body Composition and Physical Performance in a Division II Football Team Throughout a Competitive Season, presented by Marquez Norford
  • Effects of a Multi-Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplement on Repeated Spring Ability and Perceived Exertion, presented by Meghan Magee
  • Changes in Size and Physical Performance in the NFL Scouting Combine, presented by Jordynn Kurcoba
  • Gender Comparisons of Rate of Neuromuscular Fatigue Across Handle Types During Seated Row Exercise, presented by Tatum Mack
  • Relative Fatigue but Not Muscle Swelling is Affected by Maturity Status in Youth Male Athletes, presented by Shawn Reese
  • Relative Age Effects in Elite Olympic Weightlifting, presented by Jonathan Kollars
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to advancing the strength and conditioning profession around the world. NSCA advances the profession by supporting strength and conditioning professionals devoted to helping others discover and maximize their strengths. We disseminate research-based knowledge and its practical application by offering industry-leading certifications, research journals, career development services, and continuing education opportunities.  NSCA is composed of more than 45,000 members and certified professionals who further industry standards as researchers, educators, strength coaches, personal trainers, and other roles in related fields.

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