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Graduate credits multidisciplinary approach for success in health and sport sciences

Portrait of Josh Nelson

While the physical nature of sport appeals to many people, there are underlying aspects of the science and preparation that most people never consider. As the newly announced assistant athletic director for applied health and performance science for Penn State Athletics department, Josh Nelson knows the power and importance of science in sport first-hand. Hailing from Independence, Va., Nelson has had a long journey within the field of health and sport sciences in preparation for this role. 

A lifetime of leadership

An illustrative portrait of Dana

After more than 40 years of service to WVU and CPASS, Dean Dana Brooks retired on June 30, 2019. A tireless advocate for diversity and for his students, Brooks leaves behind a legacy of innovative leadership and passion for his field — sports education.

Dana Brooks knew he wanted a career teaching and inspiring others even as a youth growing up in Hagerstown, MD. He was a consummate team player. And he has the trophies and awards to prove it, stacked high on his shelves. He was never focused on the scoring or winning, but on supporting his team. “I was a passer. I defended. The team scored for you. I’m all about the team,” Brooks says.

On the cutting edge

Students work together to obtain data in regards to weight lifting performance

In this feature, read about student research learning opportunities, applied sport science technology and a team battling chronic disease through physical activity. Kelsey Kinnamon and Neel Rao worked with Dr. Peter Giacobbi on a lifestyle app enhancing users’ experience of pregnancy. The Human Performance Innovation center on campus provides direct experience for students while providing athlete monitoring for WVU sports teams. A partnership with WVU Extension Service, WVU School of Public Health, WV Prevention Research Center and CPASS, funded by a CDC grant, is creating chances for rural communities through health food, physical activity and education. 

Kick-starting social change

Group shot of participants in the sports diplomacy program

CPASS faculty members Jack Watson, Gonzalo Bravo and Peter Giacobbi, along with Cheyenne Luzynski, faculty member in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, have received an award grant through the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center at the University of Montana as part of the U.S. State Department’s Sport Diplomacy initiative. Using a community-based approach, anchored by the globally popular sport of soccer, the team hopes to literally kick-start social change in rural areas and expand women’s empowerment. The group plans to use this sport to increase leadership skills, diplomacy and confidence among the participants, something that could, given time and effort, have a ripple effect across whole communities. It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it, Watson believes.

“The program is designed to use the most popular international sport, soccer, to develop person-to-person diplomacy, while promoting social change,” says Watson, principal investigator.

Funding the future

CPASS students play with kids outside during a summer camp

CPASS strongly believes in serving our community, our WVU family, our state and beyond. The research and partnerships described below illustrate the depth and commitment of CPASS faculty, staff, students and researchers.

This program offers weekly developmentally appropriate physical activity programming to school-aged children with disabilities, and also provides hands-on experience for WVU physical education and kinesiology and athletic coaching education majors.

Jerry West receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

The portrait of Jerry West that was used to create the NBA logo

President Donald Trump announced in June that 81-year-old basketball legend and WVU alum Jerry West will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“The Great Jerry West will be receiving our nation’s highest civilian honor, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his outstanding career, both on and off the court,” Trump tweeted.

CPASS Honors 2018 Hall of Fame recipients

a group photo of the 2018 Hall of Fame inductees

The WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences has inducted four graduates into its 2018 Hall of Fame and named its Outstanding Alumnus and Distinguished Service Award recipients on October 19, at the Erickson Alumni Center. The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees include Tracy Schoenadel, David Taylor, Deborah Thorpe and Richard Tucci. The College honored David Dzewaltowski with the Outstanding Alumnus and Andrew Hawkins with the Distinguished Service Awards.

Induction into the WVU CPASS Hall of Fame honors meritorious service in an academic discipline, coaching profession, athletic administration, or athletic training and highlights the accomplishments of the College’s most distinguished alumni.

2018 Day of Giving

Students signing forms outside of a one day to give back sign

CPASS donors contributed $19,203 in gifts during Day of Giving 2018, doubling the 2017 total, while helping to enhance student academic experiences and advance wellness and physical activity in West Virginia. Join other alumni on November 13, 2019, to help us increase gift totals and program support to increase the amount raised by another $10,000.

The Greatest Needs Fund focuses on the College’s most critical areas, including student travel to conferences, sponsoring special programs and lectures for students and providing upgrades in technology. The next Day of Giving will be held November 13, 2019.

Expanding active learning

Rendering of what the steelcase ALC will look like

CPASS and WestVirginia University as a whole have always had a commitment to innovative, hands-on education. Now, thanks to a grant award from Steelcase Education, CPASS will be able to expand our offerings with an active learning classroom that will support instructors and students by creating an environment that encourages engagement,collaboration and creativity.

The new classroom in the Health and Education Building, valued at $67,000, will open during the fall 2019 semester and offer a varied, flexible setting designed to facilitate hands-on experimentation and problem-solving to meet 21st-century learning and faculty development.

Overcoming injury through the mind

A skier with with a glitched aesthetic

Student-athletes face a multitude of challenges in overcoming injuries. In attempting to achieve recovery and return to the field or court, athletes often rely on physical and psychological techniques. Damien Clement, associate professor, sport, exercise and performance psychology and athletic training, strongly supports the utilization of sport psychology techniques in preparing for the athlete’s return to competition.

“It’s a very rewarding experience for me working with an injured athlete from their initial injury all the way through rehabilitation and back to the field of play. Athletic injury is very common place in athletics but the emphasis on the psychological aspects of recovery is only beginning to become mainstream,” Clement said.