Trine professor co-authors article in medical magazine

An assistant professor in Trine University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program co-authored an article that was recently published in magazine for medical professionals who specialize in the lower extremity — the human body from the hip to the foot.

“Does athletes’ divided attention affect mechanics associated with ACL injury?” in the April 2018 edition of Lower Extremity Review grew out of ongoing research in sports biomechanics by Thomas (Gus) Almonroeder, DPT, Ph.D. The article discusses whether athletes are at greater risk for injuring the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) when their attention is divided between their footwork and tasks such as guarding an opponent or receiving a pass, and the implications this might have for injury prevention.

“Most of my work has involved analyzing how athletes perform tasks such as landing, cutting, etc. in a laboratory setting,” Almonroeder said. “However, I was never convinced that what we observed in the lab actually reflected the way athletes maneuvered during competition, so I attempted to address this by incorporating aspects of sports (e.g. divided attention, rapid decision-making) into the testing I was doing in the lab.”

The research began when Almonroeder taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His co-author for the Lower Extremity Review article was one of his former students there who has since graduated and now works in a sports medicine clinic in North Carolina, and the research has spawned several other articles as well.

“My collaborators and I found some really interesting results,” he said. “Introducing challenges that reflect sports participation within our testing protocols affected athletes’ movement patterns in a manner that may make them more susceptible to injury. We are currently working on injury prevention programs that may more adequately account for the demands athletes will face during competition.”

Almonroeder said he tries to write something for Lower Extremity Review at least once a year, in order to share his research with clinicians. He has continued this research at Trine, and an article that several Trine DPT students collaborated on with him was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Biomechanics.