Monday, January 17, 2022

Wellness students excel at conference

By Sydney Hakes

Research over the fall semester in the field of sports medicine resulted in a regional title win for one SUNY Plattsburgh student last month.

The biannual Greater New York Chapter conference hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine was held Nov. 13 in New York City.

Nicholas Dvorscak, a senior fitness wellness and leadership major, came back to Plattsburgh the following Sunday a winner, for his research, “Shoulder Arthroscopy with versus without Subscapular Nerve Release: Clinical Translation for Elite Volleyball Athletes.”

The win means he will be presenting the same research at the 2022 Annual Meeting & World Congresses this spring in San Diego, California. Dvorscak will be competing against all the winners from each chapter.

Dr. Andreas Stamatis, an associate professor at SUNY Plattsburgh and the fitness and wellness undergraduate program coordinator, hand selected Dvorscak to participate in clinical translation research and data collection that had already been underway for three to five years. 

“We looked at 56 professional, elite level athletes,” Dvorscak said. “Thirty five of them had the shoulder arthroscopy surgery combined with the new arthroscopic method called subscapular nerve release. Comparing them to the athletes who did not have the nerve release alongside the arthroscopy surgery, there was a huge difference in mobility and recovery.”

Dvorscak joined the research at the beginning of the fall semester, working with multiple SUNY Plattsburgh departments and collaborated internationally with two hospitals and a medical school in Athens, Greece.

Stamatis gave a lecture at the conference on sport neuroscience and psychophysiology and will do the same at the national conference in the spring of 2022.

“This is a big win for a small school,” Stamatis said. “Not only did Nick win, but we had a record number of students participating in the conference. They should all be proud.”

Proud is an easy word to apply to Stamatis’ demeanor once he began talking about his students. His excitement for their work breached his tone of voice and extended beyond just their academic accomplishments. 

“While I’m incredibly proud of the work these students put in, I’m also happy that they were able to just be a part of this conference and program. We’ve had students who have never been on a plane before or been to New York City. The opportunities provided by the ACSM are not just career driven, but can be a life experience that some of us take for granted,” Stamatis said.

Six of the nine participants presenting their data at the Presidents Cup Abstract Competition at the Greater New York Chapter conference were from SUNY Plattsburgh — Liam Raaen, Nicholas Dvorscak, Dylan Reilly, Madison Lecher, Wheels Pelton and Janyll Barber.

The six SUNY Plattsburgh students all presented different areas of research, ranging from athletes’ mental health during COVID to hip arthroscopy surgery. 

Stamatis said he always tells successful students “not to forget me when they’re famous.”

Dr. Galila Werber, the president of the American College of Sports Medicine Greater New York Regional Chapter, was one of the judges at the conference.

“[Dvorscak] was professional in his presentation with a demeanor and knowledge of the subject that were impressive. I’m confident that he’ll represent the Greater New York Regional ACSM chapter with flying colors,” Werber said.

Dvorscak spoke highly of Stamatis, mentioning three times that he could not have done it without Stamatis’ help and confidence in him.

“We’ve built a really strong relationship during this project. He’s one of my biggest mentors,” Dvorscak said.

They both have a list of individuals to thank, gracious in this notable win for a smaller university like SUNY Plattsburgh, with Dvorscak even beating out a graduate PhD student from Columbia University.

Regardless if he wins the annual meeting, Dvorscak said that having the credential of published research is a big deal for his “future education and career path, but essentially sports medicine is about helping people. That’s what drives all of us who are working in that field and putting effort into this research.”

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