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UMW Students Share Research at Sports Medicine Conference

April 17, 2019

Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance, Laura Young and UMW students Russell Kujala, Cole Davis, Kelsie Gray, Tanner Lehr, Sabrina Durnez and Gabrielle Moeller attended the Northwestern American College of Sports Medicine (NWACSM) conference in Bend, Ore. March 1-2, 2019.

The mission of the NWACSM is to provide educational opportunities for professional development in exercise science and sports medicine while also aiding as a resource for the general public regarding sports medicine, health and fitness issues.

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There were over 300 students, professors and speakers in attendance at this year’s conference and their work and research will be published in NWACSM’s annual publication. The two-day conference included undergraduate, graduate and doctoral student poster sessions and presentations on exercise science and sports medicine, which all six UMW students participated in.

Russell Kujala, senior at Montana Western, had the unique opportunity to present a thematic oral presentation on his research. Only a small percentage of conference attendees are selected to present.

Kujala’s research looked at the effect of handheld percussion treatment on vertical jump height. He began gathering research and data during the spring of 2018 with the help of his professor, Laura Young and classmate Cole Davis.

Kujala explained that the data he collected was done with equipment relatively new to the sports medicine field, making his research cutting edge and exclusive.

“With the block system I was able to go to class, perform data collection, prepare for my presentation and continue to run cross-country and track,” said Kujala about how he was able to conduct a successful research project while also being a student athlete.

At Montana Western, students take a single course at a time, three hours each day for 18 days before moving on to the next course. This unique approach to class scheduling, known as Experience One, allows for a more immersive education.

Kujala attests that Experience One has afforded him many opportunities to work hands-on in the field of health and human performance. Through his classes at UMW, Kujala has worked with community members at the local YMCA, assessing their health and fitness levels. He also interned at a physical therapy clinic during the summer of 2018.

Kujala will graduate in May with a Health and Human Performance major and Coaching minor. After graduation, he plans to attain his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification and possibly continue school in pursuit of a physical therapy or exercise science master’s degree.

To learn more about Montana Western’s Health and Human Performance degree options, please visit the HHP Department website.