Inside the UK Sports Medicine Research Institute

By Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis

Last month the University of Kentucky held a grand opening for the Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI). This video features that event’s speakers and showcases the equipment that will allow UK researchers to focus on injury prevention and performance optimization for professional and collegiate athletes, the tactical athletes of the U.S. military, and physically active people of all ages.

The 10,000-square-foot facility, part of the UK Nutter Training Facility on campus, is spearheaded by the UK College of Health Sciences and supported in part by $4.2 million Department of Defense grant.

The SMRI is outfitted with sophisticated equipment to assess biomechanical, physiological, musculoskeletal and neurobehavioral health and is supported by a team of eight core faculty, staff, and research assistants and 40 affiliate faculty.

A biomechanics laboratory conducts motion analysis studies using 14 cameras and a dual force plate system in the floor, like the technology used to make video games and animated movies. Equipment shaped like a horse simulates realistic movement for jockeys and other equestrians.

A neurobehavioral lab uses virtual reality to assess visual acuity, reaction times and balance, which are critical measurements for concussion recovery. Other equipment is designed to measure oxygen consumption, workload and metabolic costs, physiological stress and the influence of sleep deprivation/fatigue, all of which are important contributors to musculoskeletal strength, endurance, operational performance and injury risk.

The different branches of UK’s mission—education, research, service and care—converge in the work of the SMRI and we look forward to the discoveries that will come out of this UK institute.

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