Three UofM Researchers Receive AAC Academic Consortium Grants

March 16, 2020 - Three University of Memphis researchers have been awarded grants by the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Academic Consortium.

The Academic Consortium promotes academic excellence within the conference by developing opportunities for collaboration among faculty, student-athletes and administrators from the member institutions, with a particular focus on student-athlete well-being.

“Researchers at the UofM are actively engaged in innovative projects in support of student-athlete well-being,” said Lynda Wray Black, associate professor of Law and Faculty Athletics representative. “The primary investigators for three of the five grants recently awarded by the AAC Academic Consortium are UofM faculty.”

Recipients of the $15,000 grants include Dr. Brennan Berg, associate professor of Sport Commerce; Dr. Daniel Greenwood, research assistant professor in the School of Health Studies and director of the Human Performance Center; and Dr. Douglas Powell, assistant professor in the School of Health Studies.

Berg’s study is “Effective Social Support to Retain AAC Student-Athletes,” done in conjunction with researchers at East Carolina University, the University of Houston and University of South Florida. While physical development and academic achievement is intensely sought, a previous study by his research team demonstrates that the social and mental health of student-athletes can’t be overlooked. To better support and retain student-athletes, the study will determine best practices for how athletic department leadership and staff can socially support student-athletes. This study has the potential to enhance the well-being and mental health of student-athletes at the University of Memphis and, once the results and analysis are widely disseminated, across the NCAA.

Despite the availability of healthy eating information, a campus survey and student-athlete behavior results highlight that a significant gap between food knowledge and healthy eating habits still exists. Greenwood’s research project is a combined effort by Tigers Athletics, the School of Heath Studies and Campus Recreation to improve the dietary choices and nutritional habits of student-athletes. The research funding will allow them to expand their already successful hands-on cooking course and nutrition education program, “Tiger Bites.” Building confidence in the kitchen and understanding of the importance of healthy eating, this six-week program, which has already been delivered to volleyball and softball, will now be available to other teams across campus.

Female athletes experience a rate of traumatic knee injuries four to six times greater than males. Though research has shown that bra support alters running biomechanics, the effect of bra support on ACL stress during common sporting movements associated with ACL injury is unknown. Powell’s research project investigates the role of bra support on ACL stress during common sporting movements, including landing from a jump and changing directions (cutting).

Research funded by the grants is presented at the following year’s Academic Symposium.

“With the full support of President (M. David) Rudd and Athletic Director Laird Veatch, I am pleased to announce that the UofM will host the 2021 Academic Symposium,” said Black.