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Team Minot’s SWAT to capture university crowd

3 May

Team Minot’s SWAT to Capture University Crowd

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Being part of the 91st Security Forces Squadron Tactical Response Force is one of the most physically demanding jobs that security forces personnel can be a part of Minot Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jesse Lopez

5/3/2012 – MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Several members of Minot’s own SWAT team are headed to the National Strength & Conditioning Association Regional Convention held in Minneapolis, Minn. May 5 – 6.

Recently, Capt. Neil Colvin, 91st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force commander, and his wife Ty were invited to speak for the North Central Region on one of their most recent projects they have been working on with Minot’s very own TRF.  They will discuss Functional Movement Screenings they have conducted with members.  “For nearly two years we vigorously worked to improve Minot’s specialized physical capabilities with nuclear SWAT team members,” stated Captain Colvin.

A few months ago, The Defense Video Image & Distribution System published some of their more action-packed projects. This year, the NSCA Regionals will highlight some of these methods to the general public.

Ty Colvin, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Licensed Athletic Trainer, is in a doctoral residency to study Human Performance Optimization with Minot AFB TRF members.

By using the Functional Movement Screen scientific test, she created original research initiatives with the TRF to reduce chances of getting hurt while performing specialized duties.  The FMS is a scientific way of analyzing complex human movements. TRF-specialized line missions require nuclear SWAT members to repeatedly gear up with more than 120 pounds in equipment. Colvin discovered a clear pathway after comparing functional data among nuclear SWAT specialized jobs.  “The more experienced the sniper or breacher, the more evidence of sharp adaptation. When we map these patterns, it tells us how to sustain, build, and optimize each warfighter to reach mission goals,” said Ty Colvin.

Senior Airman Luis Velasquez, 91st SFG TRF member, was a force multiplier for TRF. Velasquez helped establish key components of how to quickly film teams of Breachers, Advanced Designated Marksmen (snipers), and Assaulters.  Initially, it took Ty six hours to biomechanically establish data for a single Airman. This would be typical if TRF were referred to a clinic, but in real life it was translating too slowly and only benefited a select few.

Velasquez helped bridge the gap between science and application. He helped the team switch to a multiple video camera format in order to record screenings, which helped to speed up capabilities.  “By teaming on-site, we developed a specialized group screen that can identify our entire unit in one day,” explained Ty Colvin.  Velasquez added he knew the job was affecting them physically, but with the FMSs, they could find out what physical areas they lack strength in and they could find out how to start improving them.  When the Minnesota NSCA Advisory Board staff asked Minot to present, Ty Colvin knew she had to bring the integrated team to demonstrate this optimized performance capability.

At the Conference, Captain Colvin and his wife will present a seminar lecture and video on day one, while Airman 1st Class Isai Reyes, 91st SFG TRF member, and Velasquez will lead the technical aspects of the program on day two for each of the four separate hours of hands-on skill sessions for the NSCA NCR participants.

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — Ty Colvin, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Licensed Athletic Trainer, works with Senior Airman Luis Velasquez, 91st Security Forces Group Tactical Response Force member, in a doctoral physical assessment at Minot Air Force Base. TRF members are currently participating in a doctoral study which assesses any physical weaknesses or injuries they may have and works to correct those impediments. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Andrew Crawford)


The new tool promises a much closer look at nerve fibers than is now possible through a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, says Dr. Rocco Armonda, a neurosurgeon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

8 Mar

Finding unseen damage of traumatic brain

By Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press

Updated  3/2/2012 10:42 AM

WASHINGTON – The soldier on the fringes of an explosion. The survivor of a car wreck. The football player who took yet another skull-rattling hit. Too often, only time can tell when a traumatic brain injury will leave lasting harm — there’s no good way to diagnose the damage.

Now scientists are testing a tool that lights up the breaks these injuries leave deep in the brain’s wiring, much like X-rays show broken bones. Research is just beginning in civilian and military patients to learn if this new kind of MRI-based test really could pinpoint their injuries and one day guide rehabilitation. It’s an example of the hunt for better brain scans, maybe even a blood test, to finally tell when a blow to the head causes damage that today’s standard testing simply can’t see.

“We now have, for the first time, the ability to make visible these previously invisible wounds,” says Walter Schneider of the University of Pittsburgh, who is leading development of the experimental scan. “If you cannot see or quantify the damage, it is hard to treat it.”

About 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, in the U.S. each year. Some survivors suffer obvious disability, but most TBIs are concussions or other milder injuries that generally heal on their own. TBI also is a signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, affecting more than 200,000 soldiers by military estimates.

Not being able to see underlying damage leads to frustration for patients and doctors alike, says Dr. Walter Koroshetz, deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  Some people experience memory loss, mood changes or other problems after what was deemed a mild concussion, only to have CT scans indicate nothing’s wrong.

Repeated concussions raise the risk of developing permanent neurologic problems later in life, a concern highlighted when some retired football players sued the National Football League. But Koroshetz says there’s no way to tell how much damage someone is accumulating, if the next blow “is really going to cause big trouble.”

And with more serious head injuries, standard scans cannot see beyond bleeding or swelling to tell if the brain’s connections are broken in a way it can’t repair on its own.

“You can have a patient with severe swelling who goes on to have a normal recovery, and patients with severe swelling who go on to die,” says Dr. David Okonkwo, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center neurosurgeon who is part of the research. Current testing “doesn’t tell you what the consequence of that head injury is going to be.”  Hence the increasing research into new options for diagnosing TBI. In a report published Friday in the Journal of Neurosurgery, Schneider’s team describes one potential candidate, called high-definition fiber tracking.

This is an experimental type of scan showing damage to the brain iacute/>s nerve fibers after a traumatic brain injury. The yellow shows missing fibers on one side of the brain, as compared to the uninjured side in green, in a man left with limited use of his left arm and hand.

Brain cells communicate with each other through a system of axons, or nerve fibers, that acts like a telephone network. They make up what’s called the white matter of the brain, and run along fiber tracts, cable-like highways containing millions of connections.

The new scan processes high-powered MRIs through a special computer program to map major fiber tracts, painting them in vivid greens, yellows and purples that designate their different functions. Researchers look for breaks in the fibers that could slow, even stop, those nerve connections from doing their assigned job.

Daniel Stunkard of New Castle, Pa., is among the first 50 TBI patients in Pitt’s testing. The 32-year-old spent three weeks in a coma after his all-terrain vehicle crashed in late 2010. CT and regular MRI scans showed only some bruising and swelling, unable to predict if he’d wake up and in what shape.  When Stunkard did awaken, he couldn’t move his left leg, arm or hand. Doctors started rehabilitation in hopes of stimulating healing, and Okonkwo says the high-def fiber tracking predicted what happened. The scan found partial breaks in nerve fibers that control the leg and arm, and extensive damage to those controlling the hand. In six months, Stunkard was walking. He now has some arm motion. But he still can’t use his hand, his fingers curled tightly into a ball. Okonkwo says those nerve fibers were too far gone for repair.  “They pretty much knew right off the bat that I was going to have problems,” Stunkard says. “I’m glad they did tell me. I just wish the number (of missing fibers) had been a little better.”

The new tool promises a much closer look at nerve fibers than is now possible through a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, says Dr. Rocco Armonda, a neurosurgeon at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“It’s like comparing your fuzzy screen black-and-white TV with a high-definition TV,” he says.

Armonda soon will begin studying the high-def scan on soldiers being treated for TBI at Walter Reed, to see if its findings correlate with their injuries and recovery. It’s work that could take years to prove.

Other attempts are in the pipeline. For example, the military is studying whether a souped-up kind of CT scan could help spot TBI by measuring changes in blood flow inside the brain. The National Institutes of Health is funding a search for substances that might leak into the bloodstream after a brain injury, allowing for a blood test that might at least tell “if a kid can go back to sports next week,” Koroshetz says.  He cautions that just finding an abnormality doesn’t mean it’s to blame for someone’s symptoms.  And however the hunt for better tests pans out, Walter Reed’s Armonda says the bigger message is to take steps to protect your brain.

“What makes the biggest difference is everybody — little kids riding their bicycles, athletes playing sports, soldiers at war — is aware of TBI,” he says.

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Study finds AD often tend to focus less on pain.

21 Nov


Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain video link

Rewiring the Brain to Ease Pain

Brain Scans Fuel Efforts to Teach Patients How to Short-Circuit Hurtful Signals

In studies at Stanford University's Neuroscience and Pain Lab, subjects can watch their own brains react to pain in real-time and learn to control their response—much like building up a muscle. When subjects focused on something distracting instead of the pain, they had more activity in the higher-thinking parts of their brains. When they "re-evaluated" their pain emotionally—"Yes, my back hurts, but I won't let that stop me"—they had more activity in the deep brain structures that process emotion. Either way, they were able to ease their own pain significantly, according to a study in the journal Anesthesiology last month.

While some of these therapies have been used successfully for years, “we are only now starting to understand the brain basis of how they work, and how they work differently from each other,” says Sean Mackey, chief of the division of pain management at Stanford.

He and his colleagues were just awarded a $9 million grant to study mind-based therapies for chronic low back pain from the government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM).

Some 116 million American adults—one-third of the population—struggle with chronic pain, and many are inadequately treated, according to a report by the Institute of Medicine in July.  Yet abuse of pain medication is rampant. Annual deaths due to overdoses of painkillers quadrupled, to 14,800, between 1998 and 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The painkiller Vicodin is now the most prescribed drug in the U.S.  “There is a growing recognition that drugs are only part of the solution and that people who live with chronic pain have to develop a strategy that calls upon some inner resources,” says Josephine Briggs, director of NCCAM, which has funded much of the research into alternative approaches to pain relief.


Already, neuroscientists know that how people perceive pain is highly individual, involving heredity, stress, anxiety, fear, depression, previous experience and general health.

Motivation also plays a huge role—and helps explain why a gravely wounded soldier can ignore his own pain to save his buddies while someone who is depressed may feel incapacitated by a minor sprain.

Clinical Application Serves the Elite Tactical Response Forces Minot

8 Sep


The Doctor of Athletic Training Resident engages in outreach in a variety of ways, both internally within the University and externally within the profession.  Minot Air Force Base hosts a unique clinical research residency setting for one athletic trainer to specifically work with the protective service / military community by offering a “MSTC Clinic”. This clinic allows the soldier to take a leading, active role in the evaluation and treatment process.  In order to refine the role each active duty member can improve upon, the clinician & patient work together to create research centered care.  This teamed approach positively impacts elite tactical response force capability though Human Performance Optimization goals specific to nuclear life-cycle costs. Under direct supervision from the licensed Athletic Training resident a translational research approach helps create a focus to anticipate future manpower readiness specific to the nuclear security enterprise. The research focuses to create a more specialized, rather than traditional, military clinic role into an industrial, real-life setting. This clinic utilizes a unique model of health care and presents patient-driven outcomes which facilitate enhanced capabilities specific to each patient.

The “MSTC Clinic” is located in the TRF Hanger Sportsmedicine Facility. It has limited hours and sees TRF patients on an apointment or referral basis.

Clinical Research Balances Laboratory Elements With UIdaho Mentors

8 Sep


Athletic training is a profession with roots in many disciplines (e.g., medicine, physical and biological sciences, sport, biomechanics, and exercise science). Successful practice as an athletic trainer requires an interdisciplinary approach to research and practice emphasizing the interconnectedness between the physical body, human behavior, and medical technology. The University of Idaho Athletic Training Education Program engages in research that can transform health care.

The National Institute of Health has identified Translational Research as a method of doing interdisciplinary research that brings together clinical and laboratory research to solve world healthcare challenges. Students and faculty in the program use a translational research approach to improve knowledge in musculoskeletal medicine. DAT students will have the opportunity to conduct research directly related to improving clinical practice. Typical research topics may include but are not limited to evidence- based practice, prevention of injuries and illnesses, patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, clinical techniques, clinical epidemiology, therapeutic modalities, evaluation and diagnosis, biomechanics, clinical prediction models.

Doctoral Athletic Training students have an opportunity to be part of this translational research team and actively engaged in independent research. There are a total of seven doctoral students participating in a research-based clinical residency.  The website reflects the efforts of one DAT resident.   This peticular residency is the first and only doctoral residency to utilize a licensed and certified athletic trainer to create improved military and protective service initiatives which enable active duty SF to perform with Human Performance Optimization elements.  Previous University of Idaho undergraduate students have received grant funding to support their research and have published and presented their research findings at professional conferences and in academic journals.  The DAT faculty maintain balance of clinical and laboratory research and serve as mentors in student lead projects. Continue reading

Doctor of Athletic Training: Bio

23 Aug

Ty Colvin   CSCS, FMS,  MS, ATC, LAT

University of Idaho, Moscow

Doctor of Athletic Training Resident

National Military Sports Medicine Training Center

National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) State Director of North Dakota


Research interests:

high-risk tactical movement protocols, Human Performance Optimization, Human Factors Engineering, MANPRINT integration, musculoskeletal injury mechanisms and injury prevention.


Focus areas:

Nuclear SWAT occupational profiles (Breacher, Sniper / Nuclear Advanced Designated Marksmen, Assaulter, etc), Security Forces etiology (mechanism of injury), specialized team concepts, sustainment biomarkers for warfighting capability, combat gear research for specialized forces; Military Healthcare Referral Network innovation;  models of quality in military physical readiness & safety.



To establish new paths toward translational Human Performance Optimization research into the operational protective services community.  Athletic Trainers provide objectives which enhance resilience of the war fighter: accelerate recovery, reduce injury and illness, provide seamless knowledge transfer from laboratory to line, improve the human system contribution to mission success, and allow the U.S. to lead in these areas.

Full Academic Proposal Review

11 Jul

Full Academic Proposal Review
11 Jul
Assignment Submission: Full Academic Proposal of the UIDAHO DAT Review
Due Date: July 5, 2011 8:00 AM

Type: Work individually
Attached is the Doctor of Athletic Training full academic proposal. The attached proposal marks a historic change in how the original UIDAHO DAT program was contrived. The doctoral students of the cohort DAT were tasked with reviewing the attached document by the DAT program mentors. Some things have already changed as it is a work in progress. (1 page review for this as usual)
Attachments: UI EDU — FP DAT.pdf


The DAT full proposal has documented the potential to improve clinical practice for certified and licensed athletic trainers who want to “achieve the highest degree in their field”(4). The model reflects an opportunity for athletic trainers to enhance patient healthcare outcomes beyond traditional PhD or EdD programs through clinical research specialization occurring at site-specific, mentored clinical residencies. The proposal attained both state and national recognition on April 1, 2011.

The Idaho State Board of Education approved the nation’s first advanced clinical Doctor of Athletic Training post-graduate program. In order for this to happen, the University of Idaho also required Dr. Seegmiller and Dr. Nasypany to mentor selected doctoral students through a self-sustained program. The University of Idaho also continues to support the DAT by encouraging the initial cohort class to create new research, expand upon knowledge, and challenge previous best practices by applying accepted clinical methods. These practices may potentially add to sustaining Carnegie level recognition.

Although the University has embraced the DAT model without reservation, the question remains as to who and how the individual residencies may attain recognition from the professional organization associated with athletic trainers. Being a post-professional program the NATA has current residence requirements that already demonstrate accreditation through non-governmental peer review processes.

The DAT proposal suggests an original perspective can possibly extend or contend with traditional NATA criteria established to ensure quality, accountability, and programmatic improvement. Thus, the question is posed, will the NATA lack of recognition to this new program help or hinder quality standards for the already Certified and Licensed Athletic Trainer? The proposal displays evidence that although NATA accreditation was seen as the “Gold Standard” for athletic trainers seeking NATABOC credentials and licensure, the DAT lack of this recognition actually creates a new breed of healthcare professional.

The proposal allows significant flexibility for the first-year cohort group to establish a baseline measure of creativity in which future professionals can design their own translational research study. This type of clinical application combines scholarly practice with the revised CAATE-accredited standards. The Doctor of Athletic Training model mirrors some close resemblance to specializations seen in traditional medical model fellowships. This distinct innovation, in the genius of design, will most likely create something new the current medical community has never seen.

The program director’s approach at formalizing an established advanced Masters of Athletic Training program further demonstrates a foundation where patient outcomes are linked directly to medical professional practice. To validate this action, the University of Idaho agreed to cease undergraduate athletic training education. This significant shift in athletic training history was evidenced by the formal Doctor of Athletic Training acceptance. The event could parallel the landmark retirement of an AMA allied health affiliation once highly sought after by the NATA in 1989 (1) which in 2006, (2) essentially becomes not good enough. It is these intricate details which set apart the Doctor of Athletic Training program’s bold approach as clearly defined, argued, and supported to focus a new species of medical practitioner.

The DAT student practitioner creates greater primary focus toward enhanced patient-centered outcomes. The DAT also will require distinct levels of specialty care under-utilized or even evidenced in most other medical professional practice programs. The DAT program quality specifically measures: reflect process-oriented curriculum assessments geared at validating proper input / output processes, as well as utilizing the role of faculty and infrastructure to promote student optimal success. The end product keys into filling an extensive needs-based demand.

Some traditional PhD, EdD, and conventional medical professional models often fail to demand both scholarship and clinical based patient-specific outcomes. What actually sets the Doctor of Athletic Training concept light years ahead of others are simple changes which align with National Institutes of Health quality measures. In addition to quality measures, the DAT proposal may create another tremendous ability; its structure to duplicate exponentially among other medical occupations which desire to serve patients centered on enhanced best practice outcomes. Should other health professionals decide to think outside the box (as athletic trainers have done with the DAT,) our nation will no doubt move closer toward enhanced patient-based outcomes as the sole basis for treatment.

There are also emphatic entrepreneurial elements that appear with each entering DAT student the University of Idaho accepts beyond the initial cohort. In 2012, the DAT should expect to facilitate even more diverse avenues of specialized research. The initial cohort class has a unique capability to spawn the growth of a second generation geared toward producing even better critical research due to relevance in clinical practice the original cohort was not obliged to. The reviews simply confirm, Idaho’s “innovative (DAT) program will lead the profession of athletic training and its educational processes upward along a natural evolutionary path.”(3)