Sean Quisenberry

Sean Quisenberry, assistant professor of biomechanics in the School of Human Sciences, is focused on the intricacies of human movement with an eye toward establishing protective measures for high school and college athletes and reducing injury occurrences. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

August 30, 2023

SIU prof decodes motion’s effects on the body to prevent injuries in athletes

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. – For Southern Illinois University Carbondale researcher Sean Quisenberry, life is all about motion. His research endeavors to establish protective measures for high school and college athletes, reducing injury occurrences.

Serving as an assistant professor of biomechanics in the School of Human Sciences, Quisenberry also takes on the role of director at SIU’s Human Performance and Sports Technology Laboratory. This interdisciplinary hub is devoted to delving into human movement, reaching far beyond the confines of sports. His intrigue with human movement isn't just academic – it's deeply ingrained in his everyday life.

“Locomotion, the very essence of movement, is fundamental to our daily existence,” Quisenberry said. “A day devoid of movement often indicates an underlying issue.”

With a career deeply rooted in sports, Quisenberry appreciates the privilege of merging his love for human movement into his daily work.

“It's not merely an opportunity; it's a cherished privilege,” he said.

Biomechanics delves into the structure, function, and motion of the mechanical aspects of biological systems. It amalgamates principles from physics, engineering, biology, and medicine to decipher the dynamics and responses of biological entities under diverse forces. Several health care domains, spanning orthopedics, sports medicine, and even the design of robotics and medical devices are anchored in its findings.

Quisenberry’s research zeroes in on the mechanics of the lower extremities and muscle activity, especially concerning injury risk and performance enhancement. His main area of interest involves the intricate interplay between sports surfaces and footwear, such as cleats.

Quisenberry aims to pioneer new tools that empower sports medicine professionals to curtail injuries among high school and college athletes.

At the heart of this mission are his endeavor at the HPST lab. Initiated a year ago at Davies Hall, the lab embarked on its first study in the spring of 2023. Quisenberry aspires to leverage his extensive expertise, transcending the limitations of conventional human performance labs.

Quisenberry-Feature_5406-sm.jpg“In this space, both researchers and students can mold the environment to their specifications, enabling them to probe into distinct queries without the confines of a standardized setup,” Quisenberry said.

A standout feature of the facility is its versatile camera orientation motion capture system, which helps researchers optimally position cameras, thus refining data collection's accuracy and quality.

Additionally, the lab boasts unique surface modification features, allowing for precise adjustments in traction and friction to cater to intricate research inquiries.

“This opens the door to exploring a whole new set of questions,” he said.

For those with an eye on the future, the lab is a step ahead. Its avant-garde blueprint effortlessly melds motion capture with virtual reality, ushering in a transformative shift in environmental immersion in real-time.

“It's not solely about analyzing movement; it's about truly experiencing it,” said Quisenberry, who became a part of SIU in 2021 after obtaining his doctorate from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

At present, the HPST lab is joining forces with SIU’s Illinois Small Business Development Center, having secured a grant from the National Science Foundation for crafting an innovative medical device. It's also actively involved in the university’s SAMs Initiative, an acronym for Saluki Athletic Monitoring System Initiative. This initiative collaborates with the recently launched biomedical engineering program, centering on pioneering technology designed for the betterment and surveillance of SIU's student-athletes.