National celebration of Biomechanics Day to be held April 6



Marshall University’s School of Kinesiology will host a daylong celebration for National Biomechanics Day on Thursday, April 6, on the university’s Huntington campus.

Established in 2016, National Biomechanics Day originated in the United States, but has expanded to include biomechanics professionals in the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand in 2017. This is the first year Marshall University has sponsored activities to celebrate the field of biomechanics, according to Dr. Steven Leigh, associate professor of biomechanics in the school.

“Biomechanics has existed as a science for a long time, but as a unique discipline to study human movement, it is relatively new.  Many universities offer courses in biomechanics within exercise and sports science, health science or engineering programs, but only eight to ten institutions in the United States offer entire programs in biomechanics,” Leigh said. “So, for Marshall to have undergraduate and graduate programs in biomechanics is very special.  Because biomechanics is not well known as a discipline or a program, National Biomechanics Day is a way to raise awareness of its role and function by letting people experience it in action in our labs.”

Leigh said students in the program will conduct participatory demonstrations in the Henderson Center biomechanics laboratories throughout the day.

“To participate, anyone is welcome to come for a movement evaluation in the Henderson Center and we can analyze the way you walk, run, jump or golf.  Individuals will be assessed using our motion analysis systems, like they may have seen on ESPN’s Sports Science program, or the motion capture system used for films like Avatar,” Leigh said.  “For people who want their running style analyzed, we will have a brief report they can take away with them based on their test results.  Similar events like these will be happening at biomechanics labs across the world all on the same day.”

Biomechanists are scientists who use principles of anatomy, physics, mathematics and engineering to help people move for improved performance, reduced risk of injury or when recovering from an injury or impairment.  According to Leigh, they work in sports and medical fields alongside athletes, coaches, doctors, therapists, trainers and other health and exercise scientists to provide evidence and support to practitioners.

“Biomechanics provides the scientific evidence so practitioners don’t have to guess or assume. Nike, New Balance, Fitbit and other sports companies have biomechanics labs where they test their shoes and clothing for safety and effectiveness.  These are the sorts of things we do in the biomechanics program at Marshall, and on National Biomechanics Day we are inviting people to join us to see for themselves.”

To learn more about National Biomechanics Day activities at Marshall, contact Leigh by e-mail at leighs@marshall.edu or call 304-696-5405. For more information on degrees offered through the Department of Biomechanics, visit www.marshall.edu/biomechanics.