Skip to page content

Schmidt receives 2014 Impact Award from UNC Graduate School

  |   Michael Childs   |   Permalink   |   Kudos,   News Release,   Spotlight

Julianne Schmidt, assistant professor in the College of Education's athletic training program in the Department of Kinesiology and director of UGA's sport-related concussion laboratory, recently received a 2014 Impact Award from the University of North Carolina Graduate School, her alma mater.

The Impact Award annually recognizes graduate students whose research contributes to the educational, economic, physical or social well-being of the citizens of North Carolina.

Schmidt joined UGA in August 2013 after receiving her doctorate from North Carolina in May 2013. While at UNC, Schmidt's doctoral research included a study involved 49 North Carolina high school and college football players. She examined whether players with stronger, larger and stiffer neck musculature had reduced odds of sustaining higher magnitude head impacts relative to players with weaker, smaller and less stiff neck musculature.

Schmidt's findings indicate that linemen with stronger neck musculature are 1.75 times more likely to sustain moderate head impacts compared to weaker linemen. Players with greater neck stiffness are less likely to sustain both moderate and severe head impacts, rather than mild ones. Her research indicates that neuromuscular training aimed at improving the dynamic response of the neck musculature may be a more effective approach than strength training in reducing head impact severity among football athletes.

"Local high schools, as well as USA Football, are using the results of Julianne's research to teach both players and coaches safer playing techniques," said Kevin Guskiewicz, Ph.D., and Schmidt's advisor at the University of North Carolina. "The results are very likely to lead to a reduction of concussions, and will be a game changer."

Schmidt's research has continued at Georgia, where she has conducted baseline concussion evaluations and sport-related concussion evaluations on student-athletes. She is now collaborating with Ron Courson, the UGA Athletic Association's senior associate athletic director for Sports Medicine, and the sports medicine staff to implement technology similar to that used at North Carolina to track head impact severity, location and frequency among the UGA football team.

"We're extremely proud of Julianne for receiving the 2014 Impact Award," Courson said. "She has already made great contributions to our sports medicine program during the past year with her sports concussion research and has been a tremendous resource to our student-athletes and our sports medicine staff."

Schmidt also has taught classes in both care and prevention of athletic injuries and organization and administration of sports medicine within UGA's undergraduate athletic training degree program.

"We're very excited Julianne Schmidt has joined our faculty and research program," said Cathy Brown Crowell, the program director for UGA's athletic training major. "Her continued contributions to undergraduate and graduate education, along with concussion research, are offering wonderful opportunities for our students, student-athletes and community."

© University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602