Faculty-student researchers publish study examining collegiate sports injuries

NEWPORT, R.I. (Jan. 19, 2017) - An article co-authored by Dr. JD Swanson and two of his students that examines and compares injuries sustained in the martial arts versus other NCAA contact sports has been published today in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The goal of the researchers is to help alleviate concerns from a risk management perspective for collegiate clubs.  
 
“Comparison of Shotokan Karate Injuries against Injuries in other Martial Arts and Select NCAA Contact Sports,” appears in The Sport Journal, the world’s largest online peer-reviewed journal of sport. Annually, the scholarly sport journal receives more than 500,000 visits. The topic of the Salve Regina researchers is particularly relevant as karate is one of five new sports added to the 2020 Olympic Games by the International Olympic Committee.
 
The work was a collaboration between Swanson, associate professor and chairman of the department of biology and biomedical sciences, and two of his students, Adam Barragan, ’12, and Jacquelynn Morrissey, ‘17. 
 
“From experience, we find that university risk management, who often do not know very much about Shotokan Karate, tend to assume it is a high risk activity and place it in extremely high risk categories based on little to no evidence,” Swanson said. “By placing it in these categories, the effective practice of karate can be impossible for students, if it is allowed at all. We argue that this perspective is incorrect and provide evidence that the injury risk in practicing traditional Shotokan karate is actually very low and comparable to other sports. This manuscript collates the current literature on injury rates and provides recommendations to the safe and effective practice of Shotokan Karate.”
 
The study originated as the senior thesis topic of Barragan, who earned his bachelor of science in biology/biomedical sciences and is currently enrolled in his second year of medical school at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blacksburg, Va. He will be completing his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation in 2019. Morrissey, the recipient of the Bottari Family Scholarship, will graduate with a bachelor of science in biology in May.
 
“One of the nice strengths about Salve is the amazing ability of faculty to interact with students,” Swanson said. “This is a great case in point, where we looked into a relevant topic that was slightly outside of my research field but relevant to the experience that the students wanted to gain, we researched the topic as a team, and we wrote it up and published it in a place where it will be used by the wider global community. This is what faculty/student mentored research is about!”  
 
The Sport Journal is an electronic, peer-reviewed scientific journal addressing current issues in sport, published with the goal of advancing sport knowledge through research and expertise. Encompassing multiple facets of sport, including sports management, sports coaching, sports studies, sports medicine, and sports fitness and health, The Sport Journal seeks to provide readers with up-to-date information comprising advances in all areas of sport. Published articles include both detailed scientific methods and guided conclusions geared towards sports professionals, allowing for immediate application in the field. It is published by the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala.
 
Swanson graduated from Penn State with a Ph.D. in integrative biosciences (ecological and molecular plant physiology option). His master’s thesis was completed at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. At Salve, he teaches a variety of classes, including Human A&P for non-majors and Developmental Biology. He has a research lab that works primarily on cell-cell communication using raspberry and blackberry prickles, human stomach cancer cells and algal blooms as models.
 
He has been involved in the sport of Shotokan since 1980, when he began his training at the age of 6.  Swanson has founded several Shotokan clubs along the east coast, including at Salve Regina upon his arrival as a faculty member in 2011. Having achieved the rank of Godan (5th dan) in 2013, Swanson graduated from the ISKF instructor training program, earning his license as an official instructor, examiner and judge. In 2016, he was appointed to direct the National Collegiate Karate Association, and the East Coast Collegiate Karate Union.