Department of Health Exercise and Sport Science – The Citadel Today Thu, 19 Nov 2020 21:58:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Department of Health Exercise and Sport Science – The Citadel Today 32 32 144096890 From the Corps of Cadets to a clinical calling; alumni share their scholastic successes Wed, 18 Nov 2020 20:57:27 +0000 The Citadel Health Careers Society invited four Exercise Science alumni to visit (via Zoom) and discuss their successes.]]>

The main consensus: have a healthy GPA

Especially in the current climate, the word “exposure” has a lot of negative connotations — but, even from a medical point of view, exposure can also be a good thing.

In fact, exposure to positive alumni outcomes is very important to healthcare-bound cadets and students — that’s according to Sarah Imam, M.D., faculty administrator for The Citadel Health Careers Society and a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance.

That’s why, for the society’s holiday meeting, they invited four Exercise Science alumni to visit (via Zoom) and discuss their successes.

“It gives our current students hope,” continued Imam. “Sometimes the goal of being a doctor or dentist, or any health professional seems like an unattainable dream. Seeing alumni that were in their shoes not so long ago makes the dream obtainable.”

The guest panel included:

  1. Fernando Gonzalez, medical student at USC-Greenville. He has an HPSP Naval Scholarship and is a Medical Officer, 01 Ensign USNR
  2. Kyle Smith, dental student at MUSC. He has an HPSP Army Scholarship and was the founding Vice President of The Citadel Health Careers Society.
  3. Taylor Baucom, Physician Assistant student at MUSC. Current MUSC Public Relations chair for MUSC College of Health Professions and former president of The Citadel Health Careers Society.
  4. Christian Shave, Physical Therapy student at MUSC. Commissioned 2LT, Army.

One main theme of their conversation: grades.

“The most important part of coming out of The Citadel is: they give you a great opportunity to have a high GPA. Which, sometimes isn’t the most important thing on your bucket list, but I really want to emphasize that having this high GPA will make you super competitive,” said Smith, Class of 2018. “I think The Citadel gives you ample opportunity to boost your GPA, not only through the extra classes you take but also the study programs they have and the help that is provided to you.”

Kyle Smith, Class of 2018

And while everyone stressed the important of grades, they also point out that there are plenty of other things that make for a distinctive application to healthcare programs.

“I also have two medical mission trips under my belt,” said Gonzalez, a member of the Class of 2016. “They do help you to stand out from everybody else if you pursue them with the right mentality. I think they’re a great opportunity for anyone who can do that.”

Fernando Gonzalez, Class of 2016

But, ultimately, applications are not only about grades or extracurriculars — they’re about the applicant. And The Citadel’s leadership laboratory produces some of the best and most competitive.

“Just being at The Citadel gives you a one up on most other candidates,” said Shave, who graduated in 2020. “The director of the MUSC Physical Therapy program — after I got my acceptance — he actually sent me an email personally saying ‘Hey, we really value what you guys do at The Citadel, and we know you’ll bring great things to this program because of your experience at The Citadel.’ So they know that you guys are really doing good stuff and, even though your time may be limited in other areas, they recognize that and they know what you guys are learning.”

Christian Shave

The Citadel Health Careers Society is a student-led organization, for cadets and students — from any major — wanting to pursue any career within healthcare. The society helps members be more competitive applicants for postgraduate studies.

First small group of cadets return to campus Thu, 23 Jul 2020 21:59:23 +0000 Members of the athletic cadre returned to campus early to get special instruction on to train the incoming cadet-athlete recruits.]]>

Athletic cadre first to report back for Operation Fall Return 2020

About 30 of the South Carolina Corps of Cadet’s newest leaders arrived on campus July 23 and one-by-one, though muffled through masks, proudly said, “Good morning Sergeant Major,” in the First Battalion sally port.

“A lot of work went into this — a lot of planning,” said Capt. Geno Paluso, USN (Ret.), commandant of cadets. “But, in the end, we have a group of volunteer cadets that are going to be the athletic cadre, who will help us bring in almost 60 of the newest members of the Long Gray Line.”

Members of the athletic cadre returned to campus early to get special instruction on to train the incoming cadet-athlete recruits. Those knobs will arrive on campus July 29.

Capt. Geno Paluso, commandant of cadets, greets members of the athletic cadre

The athletic cadre’s arrival is a milestone in Operation Fall Return, an agile, conditions-based plan to safely return cadets and students to campus.

“It’s exciting to see what’s going to happen and how things will play out,” said Cadet Logan Braucht, a football player and Exercise Science major from Waycross, Georgia. “If any college can do it, it’s The Citadel. I’m excited to be able to have an impact on people around me and that’s something that I came here to learn — to be able to be a leader.”

Part of being a leader means embracing the changes necessary to keep everyone safe — like social distancing, wearing masks and new routines for entering and exiting the barracks.

But, despite all the things the COVID pandemic has changed, it hasn’t affected The Citadel’s model for developing principled leaders.

Athletic cadre members help incoming athlete-knobs learn and succeed in the Fourth-Class System, which represents the foundation of The Citadel’s signature four-year leadership development program. It creates discipline and instills the core values of honor, duty and respect.

“I think it’s important to develop leadership fundamentals early and properly, because the cadet recruits we are training will be teaching the next class and so on…” said Cadet Maddy Cardenas. “I think it’s important that we teach them the way that we’d like to be taught and the way that we want others to be taught behind us, as well.

Cardenas is a Mechanical Engineering major from Los Angeles, California, who plays volleyball for The Citadel.

“There are two things that we have to do. We have to deliver academics and we have to have a freshmen class — we have to have a knob class. You can’t break the The Citadel’s Long Gray Line,” continued Paluso. “This is the beginning of training the next generation of the Long Gray Line. Get them here. Get them trained. And, do it in a safe and efficient manner.”

“To come from having an early Recognition Day, to then being the first ones on campus, it’s definitely a different kind of experience than what I expected,” continued Braucht. “But I think it’s really going to help us have the mindset that that we need for the things we’re going to learn at The Citadel — to be able to overcome any obstacle.”

The full Class of 2024 arrives Aug. 8, with planned return of the upperclass cadets on Aug. 16.

For more information on Operation Fall Return, click here.

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U.S. Army aims for tougher fitness standards despite amount of overweight recruits Tue, 01 Jan 2019 11:00:51 +0000 Army Physical Fitness TestArmy Physical Fitness TestIn a report released by The Citadel, the Army has seen an overall increase of overweight recruits who can't pass entry-level physical fitness tests.]]> Army Physical Fitness TestArmy Physical Fitness Test

As seen in Newsweek, by Scott McDonald

A recent study shows the health of young adults from 10 southern states a hindrance to the United States Army, and a subsequent national security crisis.

In a report released by The Citadel, the Army has seen an overall increase of overweight recruits who can’t pass entry-level physical fitness tests.

The results of the study coincides with the Army’s decision to raise the level of a recruit’s fitness and combat readiness, prompting the military to release a website to get future soldiers ready in advance of their basic training.

The Citadel conducted the survey this year with the U.S. Army Public Health Center and the American Heart Association and determined that overweight military recruits has led to more training injuries and an overhaul with a preemptive training process.

According to the study, the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, and North Carolina have the worst fitness and cardio levels for incoming recruits.

Eduardo Sanchez, the chief medical officer for prevention and chief of the Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation for the American Heart Association, said geography and local education systems play a role in shaping these young adults.

“All children deserve to live, learn and play in places where their health can thrive,” Sanchez said “This study underscores the importance of physical education in schools and emphasizes our responsibility to build communities with parks, bike lanes, and safe routes to school. This must be done — not just for our children’s hearts and brains — but for our national security.”

The report says that 27 percent of potential enlistees aged 17 to 24 are too obese, or overweight, to qualify for military service. Furthermore, the study reveals that 47 percent of men and 59 percent of women fail the Army’s entry-level training test.

The Army now will play a proactive role to get recruits ready in advance of basic training rather than be reactive and get them ready once they check on the base and get a bag full of gear.

The website the armed services branch launched includes training tutorials and videos that will prep soldiers for the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT). The site includes initiatives from the Army for improving soldier and unit readiness, to transform the Army’s fitness culture, reduce preventable injuries and to enhance mental toughness.

The ACFT has six main events, including 3-rep maximum deadlift, standing power throw, hand-release push-ups, a 250-meter sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck, and 2-mile run.

The ACFT site details each event with fitness components, its standard equipment and how the field test is evaluated. At the end of each exercise, it shows how those events correspond to combat readiness.

“If you can’t get in shape in 24 months, then maybe you should hit the road,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said last month in

“We don’t want to lose thousands of soldiers to [the ACFT]. This fitness test is hard. No one should be under any illusions about it. But we really don’t want to lose soldiers on the battlefield. We don’t want young men and women to get killed in action because they weren’t fit,” Milley said.

The decision of the Army to up its physical fitness requirements comes alongside a time when so many recruits are coming in not prepared for the rigors.

“While commanding in combat, I saw the effect training-related injuries had on mission accomplishment,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, a former commander of U.S. Army Europe, told the Citadel. “In basic training, the number of unfit recruits forced changes to our physical training procedures and dining menus. [The] study provides critical insight into the real national security issues posed by recruits who are less physically fit and less prepared for military service than they have ever been in our history.”

The Army began a field trial of the ACFT in October this year with master fitness trainers at select units. The ACFT will go through two more trial phases before it becomes the Army’s physical test of record no later than October 2020.

A follow up note from The Citadel

Prof. Daniel Bornstein The Citadel
Dr. Daniel Bornstein, Citadel Health and Human Performance professor

Daniel Bornstein, Ph.D., who conducted the research and authored the report referenced in this Newsweek article, is an assistant professor in The Citadel Department of Health and Human Performance. He began working at The Citadel in 2013 after completing his Ph.D. in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina.

Bornstein has published extensively and presents regularly at national and international conferences in the areas of physical activity and public health including physical activity monitoring, physical activity communication, physical activity policy and physical activity messaging.

He is currently leading a series of research studies investigating the impacts of physical inactivity and low physical fitness on military readiness and national security.

Bornstein recently announced the release of a new book he co-authored, Physical Activity and Public Health Practice. The book will be available for purchase in January 2019. It written to help people design, deliver and evaluate physical activity interventions in order to improve fitness, health and security of the nation.

Learn about more of The Citadel’s faculty experts here.


Giving a stranger the gift of hope for 2019 Sun, 23 Dec 2018 11:00:54 +0000 Citadel Graduate College student donates bone marrow in Washington D. C. for leukemia patient through Be the Match.]]>

Citadel Graduate College student donates bone marrow in Washington D. C. for leukemia patient

Rebecca Seley is a Citadel Graduate College student working on a Master’s of Science in Health, Exercise and Sport Science. when she started the program in the fall, she never imagined she’s spend part of the semester enjoying a splurge of treats in a hospital room in Washington, D.C.

Seley, a personal trainer whose hometown is Pawley’s Island, graduated from the University of South Carolina in May of 2018 after majoring in exercise science as an undergraduate student. Back when she was a freshman, she saw a campaign on the USC campus for the program Be The Match. Be the Match manages the largest bone marrow registry in the world to help people diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Seley signed up right then and says she was told her chances of being called were slim.

“I learned that the marrow transplants can cure many people. The form was right there, and it was easy to sign up. I knew it was a shot in the dark, but I thought, why not?” Seley said. “People with cancer have had plenty of suffering already, and if all I needed to do would be to suffer a fraction of their pain for merely 3 weeks, I thought it would be well worth it.”

More than four years after signing up to donate, she got the call, and began moving through the process and appointments needed to determine if she was the right donor.

“They called in September to tell me that I might be a match for a man who is 44 years old and has leukemia. They set me up with a coordinator who manages the bookings and processes. They called me back at the end of September and had me go to a facility where five vials of blood were taken and a nurse did a screening.”

Seley explained that a few days after that, Be the Match asked her to go back to provide 28 vials of blood that were tested “for about everything under the sun such as viral infections and diseases.” She also took an EKG test, went to the Red Cross bank to donate blood that could be used for herself, and saw several other physicals. All expenses were covered through Be the Match.

“I guess doctors don’t usually see people this healthy considering they mostly treat sick people. I had three physicians gush about how awesome my hemoglobin number was.”

A few weeks after that, Seley was told she was a match. “They asked if they could fly me to Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C. to go through the marrow donation process because no place in our area does it.”

GCG student Rebecca Seley and her sister Katie Seley at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D. C. after Rebecca donated bone marrow through Be the Match
GCG student Rebecca Seley and her sister Katie Seley at Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D. C. after Rebecca donated bone marrow through Be the Match

Seley, who is one of eight five siblings, was accompanied by her sister Katie. They flew out of Charleston on Dec. 12.

“The actual procedure took about two hours and was fine. They made two incisions while I was under anesthesia, drilled to reach the marrow, and then used a syringe to extract it. I didn’t really feel anything, just soreness and fatigue afterward.”

Including travel, surgery preparation, the procedure and onsite recovery, Seley and her sister were gone 7 days.

“I’m feel like most of my energy has been zapped. It’ll take about three weeks for my body to regenerate my bone marrow, so I’m going to take it easy during the winter break.”

The man getting her marrow received his transplant two days after it was extracted from Seley. Seley doesn’t know who he is, and may never know, which is okay with her.

“I’d love to meet him some day if he’d like that too, but donors are not permitted to meet the patients until at least one year past the transplant date. I am just thankful that he now he might be feeling more hopeful.”

For more information about Be the Match, click here.


My ring story: the band of gold means the world to my mother and me Sun, 21 Oct 2018 14:00:01 +0000 Cadet Jariek Richburg's cancer support groupCadet Jariek Richburg's cancer support groupMy ring already means the world to me. This is why.]]> Cadet Jariek Richburg's cancer support groupCadet Jariek Richburg's cancer support group

By Cadet Jariek T. Richburg, Health, Exercise and Sport Science Major, Cadet-athlete, Citadel Success Institute leader

My ring already means the world to me. This is why.

I was born in less that ideal circumstances and was not presented with a lot of opportunities to take myself toward my goals except one, my mom. My mom is always my biggest fan and has been since day one, even though she was only 17 years old when I was born. She’s helped me through a lot, including a life-threatening illness.

I was raised in Mullins, South Carolina. During the 1950s and 60s, it was a thriving town because of tobacco farming. Unfortunately, that changed and it became just another small, rural community with limited opportunities to offer its youth other than a few dead-end jobs.

Jariek Richburg getting chemotherapy
Jariek Richburg getting chemotherapy

Through my mom’s encouragement, I became a well-rounded student-athlete in high school. I earned a four-year ROTC scholarship with the United States Marine Corps. I planned to use the scholarship to pay for my education at The Citadel, and as a means to start a career in the military. That plan for a military career changed in August of 2016 as I was starting my second year as a cadet.

I learned that I had a stage four cancer growing inside my head and neck. I was told my chances for survival were slim to none. I began treatment that fall which ended shortly before Christmas. It left me a shell of my former self. My body was burned from three months of daily radiation treatments. I only weighed about 125 pounds due to the aggressive chemotherapy treatments.

In spite of what my body went through, I recovered in time to return to school in the fall of 2017. I was able to pick up right where I left off with my classes and my cadet duties in the Corps. Though I am no longer able to be Marine Corps scholarship cadet due to my health, I have a new goal: I am a Heath, Exercise and Sports Science major, focusing on becoming a strength and conditioning coach.

Jariek Richburg and his mom, Kianna Richburg admire his Citadel ring
Jariek Richburg and his mom, Kianna Richburg, admire his Citadel ring

My Citadel ring is a tangible representation of the long hours I have invested in the gym and on the track to rebuild my body to where I am today.

My ring represents my will to survive and thrive.

My ring represents my hope and determination

My ring represents the fire that burns bright in my heart that pushes me to overcome adversity, no matter how unbeatable it may seem.

Finally, my ring represents my gratitude to my mom for her never-ending support.

My ring story: how the generosity of strangers helped change my life Fri, 12 Oct 2018 20:07:12 +0000 Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Class of 2019Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Class of 2019I am the first in my family to graduate from The Citadel, but I hope I am creating a legacy for others here. ]]> Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Class of 2019Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Class of 2019

By Cadet Logan Miller, Regimental Public Affairs Officer, Varsity Track Team

It was spring break 2014. My family and I were on a college search adventure when we stopped at The Citadel. I knew nothing about the school, only that it was a military college. I certainly did not realize that this brief stop at The Citadel would start a life-changing transition taking me from my home in Kannapolis, North Carolina, to my new home in Charleston, South Carolina for the next four years.

On September 20, 1996, I was born to Sonya Green-Miller and Vincent Miller. My mother always stressed the importance of a great education as I was growing up. She inspired me to work hard to succeed in school and instilled in me a desire to make a difference in the world some day, in my own way.

I started applying to colleges at the beginning of my senior year in high school. My mother asked me about The Citadel, reminding me of our visit there. I told her that I was not considering it, thinking it was out of my reach, but she persisted in encouraging me to apply, and because they waived the application for me, I was able to do it. One week after submitting my application, I received an acceptance letter. I was thrilled because the turnaround time was so quick. I strongly felt that God wanted me there for a reason.

After a pre-knob visit where high school seniors get to spend a day and night on campus, followed by an interview with The Citadel Honors College, I knew that God was pushing me to go to The Citadel. However, I ran into some challenges on the way.

Fast-forward to April 2015, two months before my high school graduation. I received my financial package and to my surprise, I was $9,000 in the hole. I vividly remember walking into my mother’s room before she went to work, crying to her that I was not going to be able to attend the place that had become my dream, the number-one military college in the South. My mother wanted to help but simply was not in the position to be able to provide the money. Immediately, I went to my room, got on my knees, and prayed for an answer. A few days later some generous strangers−four Citadel alumni−graciously donated funds to help with my tuition. Just like that, I matriculated with the class of 2019.

(Back right) Cadet Logan Miller during summer study abroad in Lithuania
(Back right) Cadet Logan Miller during summer study abroad in Lithuania

Fast-forward again to three years after that. I am senior who has made the Gold Star and Dean’s List. I have traveled around the globe three times to study abroad. I have held positions of rank, including being Regimental Public Affairs Officer, and have been a varsity track athlete. I have earned several awards and am going to graduate with a degree in Health, Exercise and Sports Science. Finally, I find myself earning the band of gold!

When I first set eyes on this beautiful campus, I never would have imagined this journey, but with God, anything is possible. To me, the ring represents honor, courage, and discipline. I know it will help me in my quest to become a physician’s assistant in the U.S. Air Force.

I am the first in my family to graduate from The Citadel, but I hope I am creating a legacy for others here. Thank you, Col. John Falkenbury, Mr. Brian Floyd, Senator Robert Hayes and Col. Russ Olsen, for making this journey possible. With the ring, I know I have the power to make a profound impact on the world.

Cadet Logan Miller with his parents after receiving award
Cadet Logan Miller with his parents after receiving award

A lesson in gaining buy-in from policy makers: an author Q&A with Dr. Daniel Bornstein Thu, 31 May 2018 20:04:40 +0000 The Citadel Social CardThe Citadel Social CardDr. Bornstein discusses how to align public health needs with the issues that matter to policy makers can create greater buy-in.]]> The Citadel Social CardThe Citadel Social Card

As seen in JPHM Direct 

A group of researchers, led by Dr. Daniel Bornstein, is receiving media attention from news outlets across the country, including USA Today, for an article recently published in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice. The article,  “Which US States Pose the Greatest Threats to Military Readiness and Public HealthPublic Health Policy Implications for a Cross-sectional Investigation of Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Body Mass Index, and Injuries Among US Army Recruits” reframes the negative effects of physical inactivity and low fitness from an issue that impacts public health to one that directly and indirectly affects military readiness and national security. Bornstein, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Science at The Citadel, maintains that the way to affect policy is to speak the language of the policy makers.

We had the chance to sit down with Dr. Bornstein recently to talk about the article and how aligning public health needs with the issues that matter to policy makers can create greater buy-in.

New device measures blink reflex parameters to quickly and objectively identify concussion Tue, 13 Feb 2018 21:12:38 +0000 Blink Reflexometer ResearchBlink Reflexometer ResearchMUSC and The Citadel researched the Blink Reflexometer to see if it could help fill the need for more objective measures of concussion severity. ]]> Blink Reflexometer ResearchBlink Reflexometer Research

As seen in EurekAlert

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur each year in the US. In addition, research indicates that nearly a quarter of annual traumatic brain injuries among children are sustained during high-contact/collision recreational activities or sports. Unfortunately, current methods for diagnosing and evaluating concussion severity are not very accurate. Medical professionals and field-side staff must base concussion-related decisions on overt symptom assessments (e.g., balance, neurocognition) and self-reports that often provide incomplete, misleading or conflicting information.

Nancey Trevanian Tsai, M.D., clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and Dena Garner, Ph.D., professor of health, exercise, and sport science at The Citadel, collaborated to study whether a new device, the Blink ReflexometerTM, could help fill this urgent need for more objective measures of concussion severity and outcomes. The promising findings of that study are reported in the January issue of Cogent Engineering.

Tsai, who developed the Blink ReflexometerTM with the support of the Zucker Institute for Applied Neurosciences (ZIAN), became acquainted with Garner via her prior doctoral and postdoctoral work in MUSC’s Department of Neurology. When Tsai asked if she might be interested in testing the device in a group of healthy participants, Garner jumped at the opportunity.

“I was excited to see this type of technology coming out to help us better pinpoint and potentially aid in the diagnosis of concussion,” said Garner. “Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and we know it’s under-reported because, so often, it goes unnoticed or undiagnosed. The chance to test a piece of equipment that can be used field-side to assess concussions was especially compelling.”

A high-speed videography-based device, the Blink ReflexometerTM triggers, records and analyzes detailed information about a person’s blink reflex. The person being evaluated wears a mask that delivers three to five air puffs at random intervals over 20 seconds to the outer corner of the right or left eye (randomly selected). After approximately 20 seconds of rest, two more sets of puffs are delivered to complete the session (a total of 6 to 12 puffs per session). The blink reflex is recorded at 280 frames/second and specific frames are then isolated and analyzed.

Garner collected blink reflex data from 24 Division I, male football players (18-22 years of age) over the 2015 and 2016 athletic seasons. Preseason baseline values were established for ten blink reflex parameters, athletic history, physical examination, balance parameters and neurocognitive test scores. During the study, participants were divided into two sub-groups based on whether a concussive event was suspected (Head Impact [n=14]; Control [n=10; age matched]). When a concussion or suspected concussion occurred, participants were re-tested within one to 48 hours after the event to collect post-event blink reflex measurements and standard concussion evaluation protocol results.

First, the team investigated whether changes in the blink reflex after a concussive event could be differentiated from normal blink reflex changes that are known to occur during active sports play. Control athlete data revealed significant differences in specific blink reflex parameters between baseline and active play. After sports play, Control athletes (those without a head impact during the study period) had significantly increased blink latency, decreased differential latency, decreased lid velocity, longer time to open, fewer oscillations (cycles of up/down upper eyelid movement after a blink) and shorter total blink duration. Post-impact parameters among Head Impact athletes showed decreased blink latency, increased differential latency (time difference between start of ipsilateral eye movement and start of contralateral eye movement), decreased log of time to open and increased log of number of oscillations compared to their baseline values.

Significant between-group differences in blink reflex changes were also found. Compared to their baseline values, Head Impact athletes had decreased blink latency, increased differential latency and larger lid excursions post-impact, while Controls had increased blink latency, smaller lid excursions and decreased log of number of oscillations after activity.

“A human’s blink reflex has a long pathway — originating at the facial area and continuing to the brain stem. If any place along that pathway is damaged, changes in the blink reflex can indicate that there is a potential problem,” explained Garner. “We now know that concussions and normal play both affect the blink parameters, but in differing directions. Our observations identified something distinctly different occurring in the concussion brains that can serve as a valuable new indicator for diagnosing the condition.”

These results confirm that a device measuring blink reflex parameters has great potential as a field-side diagnostic tool to assist athletic trainers and medical staff in determining athletes’ concussive status and making appropriate decisions to remove them from play. Importantly, because blink parameter assessment provides an objective measure of a primitive reflex, athletes cannot manipulate it.

The authors emphasize that reporting these study findings is not intended to endorse the use of this particular device but to support the use of blink reflex parameter assessment as an objective measure of head impact severity immediately after the event and during recovery. In the future, Garner sees blink reflex measurement being used to assess a broad range of neurological disorders.

“We’re now collecting normative blink reflex data in different age groups and other sports, with a future goal of collecting data from people with neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis,” said Garner. “We hope that one day we’ll be able to use blink reflex data to help determine severity or progression in other diseases. There’s really wide potential for its application.”

Transportation and Health with The Citadel’s Jeff Davis and Dan Bornstein Fri, 02 Feb 2018 21:02:25 +0000 The Citadel Social CardThe Citadel Social CardIn this episode, ITE Member William J. (Jeff) Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Daniel Bornstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Science, discuss the intersection of transportation and health.]]> The Citadel Social CardThe Citadel Social Card

As seen on ITE Talks Transportation

In this episode, ITE Member William J. (Jeff) Davis, Ph.D., Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Daniel Bornstein, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Science, discuss the intersection of transportation and health. The professors are colleagues at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina.


Why are people in the South less healthy? It’s always been the case Thu, 25 Jan 2018 19:12:57 +0000 The Citadel Social CardThe Citadel Social CardAs seen in Newsweek, by Peter A. Coclanis A new scholarly study documenting the poor health of southern military recruits has been much in the news of late (Newsweek , January]]> The Citadel Social CardThe Citadel Social Card

As seen in Newsweek, by Peter A. Coclanis

A new scholarly study documenting the poor health of southern military recruits has been much in the news of late (Newsweek , January 11, 2018).

In the study, published online in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice last week, a team of researchers organized under the auspices of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, found that male and female army recruits from ten southern states were significantly less fit and much more likely to become injured while on duty than male and female recruits from other parts of the country.

The authors of this careful study, based on data drawn from 170,000 recruits, suggest that the overall poor state of public health in the South shows up clearly in the data on military recruits from the region, and that, as a result, the public health burden in the South is impairing U.S. military readiness and national security.

There is no reason to challenge the study’s overall findings, however depressing, but adding a bit of historical context might allow us better to interpret them.

First and foremost, it is important to note that the study’s findings will not surprise any student of southern history. The South has long been a public health disaster area, with the region’s population topping the charts in statistics relating to morbidity, mortality, and various and sundry indices of parlous health outcomes for a century and a half.

The region’s dubious rankings in these regards are closely related to–indeed, inter-correlated with– similar rankings regarding per capita income/wealth, poverty, educational achievement, and other socio-economic indicators.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt, writing in 1938, called the South “the Nation’s No. 1 economic problem,” he knew whereof he spoke. The below average level of per capita income, high level of poverty, and poor state of public health in the region over the last one hundred fifty years have “presented” in myriad ways, including in high rates of rejection for military service in the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. In each of these cases the primary reason for rejection was related to weight.

There is a big difference, however, in the way regional poverty and impaired health “presented” on southern military recruits in the past and the way they do today. Whereas the principal reason for rejecting southern males for military service in 1898, in World War I, and in World War II was failure to meet minimum weight requirements, the authors of the new study emphasize obesity .

One of the most dramatic changes in the relationship between nutrition and income in the U.S. in recent decades has been the reversal of the historical relationship between income/wealth and weight.

Until quite recently, poor people everywhere in the world have weighed less than people in wealthier groups. In the U.S. and other developed countries today, this situation has often been reversed, with obesity levels higher, generally speaking, among members of lower-income groups.

Basically, poor people buy cheap, high- caloric foods in order to survive and don’t have the time or resources to burn off the fat.

Since the lead researchers in the recent study work out of The Citadel, it seems appropriate briefly to mention some historical research done on Citadel cadets themselves, the findings from which underscore the principal points above.

In two papers published in the 1990s, economist John Komlos and I used data from the archives of The Citadel on the height and weight of cadets between c. 1880 to c. 1940 to analyze biometric trends in the region. The most striking findings from our study—based on biometric data on 6550 cadets born between the 1860s and the 1930s—were related to their slight stature as reflected in weight and BMI (body mass index).

The average 18-year old male cadet at The Citadel in the cohorts born in the 1870s, 1880s, 1890s, and 1900s—over 77 percent of whom resided in the South — ranged between 129.8 pounds and 134.9 pounds, and the average BMI between a tiny 19.9 and a slight 20.5.  And, almost certainly, Citadel cadets came from families that on average were wealthier than the regional mean.

By way of contrast, U.S. military recruits in World War I averaged about 145 pounds, fully 10 pounds higher than Citadel men.

There were many reasons for the meager stature historically of southerners, including Citadel cadets, whose families were generally not well off, but seldom impoverished.

Historians generally point to the region’s high rate of poverty and to its high disease burden—to malaria, pellagra, and hookworm in particular. These diseases were largely eradicated from the region in the first half of the twentieth century, but the region is still considerably poorer than the U.S. as a whole.

Today, however, the region’s economic problems find physical expression in obesity rather than stunting, as the authors of the new study demonstrate.