UC Davis Experts: Olympic Summer Games

Man in light blue polo shirt holds oar.
UC Davis Professor David Hawkins has studied the physics of rowing and injury prevention. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)

University of California, Davis, experts are available for comment on various aspects of the Olympic Games — from the physics of rowing to nutrition for elite athletes to sports psychology and injury prevention. UC Davis facilities can accommodate live or recorded television and ISDN radio interviews for a nominal charge.

Exercise, performance and injuries

UC Davis biomechanics scientist David Hawkins conducts research in and outside the UC Davis Human Performance Laboratory with the goal of developing tools and training strategies to help people maintain fitness, prevent chronic disease, and achieve their athletic performance potential while minimizing their risk for musculoskeletal injury. Recent research has focused on developing strategies to minimize anterior cruciate ligament injuries, and to develop and utilize wearable devices to quantify various metrics related to fitness and injury risk. He has authored studies on the physics of rowing as a sport, overuse injuries in youth athletes and wearable devices to quantify ground contact forces in runners. He can discuss the properties of bone, ligament, tendon and muscle, including how they respond to exercise and disuse, and the balance between exercise intensity, positive adaptations and injury. Contact: David Hawkins, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, 530-752-2748, dahawkins@ucdavis.edu.

Motivation and sports psychology

Paul Salitsky, in his 20th year as a UC Davis lecturer in exercise biology, studies the psychological aspects of sport and exercise and how individuals — from elite athletes to youth participants — can become motivated to focus and achieve their goals. He has coached women’s volleyball at the international, club and NCAA Division I level and has conducted more than 500 clinics and workshops on the mental skills needed for performance success. A certified consultant for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology, Salitsky in 2000 was added to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology Registry and selected to join the Sport Psychology Committee for USA Track & Field. He is a senior trainer for the Positive Coaching Alliance and has mentored coaches, parents and leaders in youth sport through more than 175 workshops across the United States. Contact: Paul Salitsky, Exercise Biology, 530-752-3381, pbsalitsky@ucdavis.edu.

Improving performance and reducing injuries

Brandee Waite is a sports medicine physician who has designed training programs for and treated a wide range of college, professional, and elite athletes and teams, including USA Track and Field, NBA and WNBA teams. She is currently the physician for the Sacramento Republic FC professional men’s soccer team and co-medical director of the California International Marathon. Her research focuses on understanding the musculoskeletal and physiologic changes of extreme-endurance athletes, with the goal of improving performance and reducing injuries. To schedule an interview with Waite, contact Karen Finney, UC Davis Health System Public Affairs, 916-734-9064, klfinney@ucdavis.edu.

Former collegiate soccer champ treats foot and ankle injuries

A former college soccer champion, Eric Giza is now an orthopedic surgeon who focuses on reconstructing the foot and ankle following sports injuries. His research program is advancing less invasive, arthroscopic approaches to repairing ligaments and tendons, including the Achilles tendon, to reduce time away from training and competition. To schedule an interview with Giza, contact Karen Finney, UC Davis Health System Public Affairs, 916-734-9064, klfinney@ucdavis.edu.

Nutrition for elite athletes

Nutrition and fitness authority Liz Applegate is director of sports nutrition for Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Davis and can discuss the special nutritional requirements for athletes competing in the Summer Olympic Games. Applegate consulted with Olympic athletes during the 2012 Summer Games and has published several books, including Nutrition Basics for Better Health and Performance; Bounce Your Body Beautiful; The Encyclopedia of Sports and Fitness Nutrition; and Eat Smart, Play Hard. She has written more than 300 articles for national magazines and has been a nutrition columnist for Runner’s World magazine for the past 30 years. Applegate is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and has also served on the board of directors for the American Council on Exercise. Contact: Liz Applegate, Nutrition, cell 530-304-3933, eaapplegate@ucdavis.edu. 

Diagnosing and managing knee and shoulder injuries

Cassandra Lee has been a physician for professional and collegiate athletic teams, including basketball, gymnastics, swimming, and track and field teams. She specializes in diagnosing and managing sports-related knee and shoulder injuries. She is an expert in ligament reconstruction and cartilage preservation techniques for the knee and arthroscopic techniques in shoulder surgery. Her research focuses on regenerative medicine approaches to cartilage and ligament repair. To schedule an interview with Lee, contact Karen Finney, UC Davis Health System Public Affairs, 916-734-9064, klfinney@ucdavis.edu.

Diagnosing concussions in athletes

Melita Moore is the head team physician for Intercollegiate Athletics and an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UC Davis, where she oversees the training programs of 650 student athletes involved in 23 sports. She has served as team physician for the Sacramento Kings, Jamaica’s men’s basketball team and ultramarathon races around the world. Moore’s research focuses on improving concussion diagnosis and return-to-play decisions, including developing a tool that can be used on the playing field to detect brain injury using changes in the eyes. To schedule an interview with Moore, contact Charles Casey, UC Davis Health System Public Affairs, 916-734-9048, cecasey@ucdavis.edu.

Media Resources

Pat Bailey, News and Media Relations, 530-219-9640, pjbailey@ucdavis.edu

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