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New Biomechanics director sees program expanding

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Suzanne Konz, Ph.D., is an associate professor, the biochemical labs director and is the biomechanics program director for both the undergraduate and new graduate program at Marshall University.

She said she is excited about how many students are in the undergraduate program and can only see it expanding as people realize what interesting things can be done with a degree in the biomechanical field.

Konz gave some examples of what people can do in the field, such as gathering data from helmet collision trackers in football and using those numbers to determine how to combat concussions before they happen. Another was gathering data on players using a device that measures power to find out when athletes begin to get tired and when they need to be taken out for safety reasons. Also, studying the differences between certain types of tackles, such as the lunge tackle and the hawk tackle, and which are more effective in preventing injury.

The field of biomechanics in relation to athletes and sports is something Konz has much experience in. Konz moved to Salt Lake City, Utah with the sole intent of getting involved in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. She ended up becoming a volunteer athletic trainer for countries who didn’t have their own sports medicine staff in events such as the bobsleigh, luge and skeleton.

She also has helped with the National Football League Scouting Combine for eight years. There she is part of a medical testing group there where they do ice kinetic testing. Ice kinetic testing uses a device called a dynamometer and it tests the subject’s torque, power and for knee anomalies in a controlled environment. Konz said these tests are important to teams when picking up an athlete and making sure the athlete has an unlikely chance of getting injured severely and to see how fit and strong the athlete is compared to others.

She has worked with helping people train for other Olympics, including Beijing and Rio, the World Cup and others.

She also said that she loves working with Marshall’s athletics programs to help them implement biomechanics.

“Now that we have the undergraduate and graduate programs a lot of the things that I’m doing will be taken care of by students because that’s what should happen,” Konz said. “I shouldn’t be in the forefront; I should be giving my students the opportunities that they want.”

Noah Gillispie can be contacted at [email protected]

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