Kinesiology doctoral candidate Kyle Wasserberger recently defended his dissertation, after studying and researching under the guidance of Professor Gretchen Oliver in the Sports Medicine and Movement Lab. His hard work has paid off – upon graduating in December, he is moving to Seattle, Washington, where he has accepted a full-time employment offer with Driveline Baseball – a data-driven startup company that trains baseball and softball players of all skill levels.
“I will be a biomechanist in their expanding sports science department tasked with helping to implement motion capture technologies and disseminate biomechanics information to athletes and other employees,” Wasserberger said.
But to get to that role, Wasserberger had to defend his dissertation titled, “The Relationship Between Throwing Intensity and Overhead Throwing Mechanics: Implications for Throwing Rehabilitation.” He analyzed human movement with an emphasis on throwing athletes (baseball and softball).
“My dissertation used mixed-effects statistical modeling techniques to examine the relationships between throwing intensity and throwing arm joint loading in skilled throwing athletes during a typical throwing warm up,” he said. “Eventually, I hope quantification of how the loads on the throwing arm progress as athletes increase throwing intensity will lead to better, more efficient throwing rehabilitation protocol so that injured athletes can return faster and more prepared to handle the demands of competition. I believe my dissertation serves as an important first step towards the refinement of return-to-play protocols for throwing athletes.”
He credits much of his success to the biomechanics faculty he was able to learn from, including Oliver, Wendi Weimar, Jaimie Roper, and Chris Wilburn.
“Being surrounded by amazing faculty and other driven and dedicated students instilled the importance of never being the smartest person in the room,” he said. “Picking brains of other great kinesiologists and asking questions is one of the best ways to learn new things.”
Oliver, he said, supported his curiosity and allowed him to explore topics that were of interest to him.
“She has always been available when I needed to ask questions and, maybe more importantly, she allowed me to struggle when I needed to struggle through something on my own,” he said. “I would not be where I am today without her leadership.”