Sports Science Institute plays key role in national meet

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Hundreds of elite high school track and field athletes will travel to Greensboro, North Carolina, this week for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet June 15-17. One team that will be making a direct impact on the event and the athletes is the staff from Sanford Sports Science Institute.

Five members of the SSSI — Dr. Thayne Munce, Lizzie Kasparek, Jason Dorman, Dan Poel and Zadok Isaacs — will attend the meet as part of Sanford Health’s five-year collaboration with the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) as the organization’s exclusive sports medicine research partner.

“The meet is kind of like the special events at Howard Wood Field during the Dakota Relays,” Munce said. “Every race is like that because the athletes are state champions from all across the country. Their list of achievements and accomplishments is incredible. It is pretty cool to be around athletes of that caliber.”

Munce said the SSSI team has two main objectives at the national meet. The staff will be there to assist in the medical tent to ensure injury reports are complete to keep track of the types of injuries sustained at the meet. Munce and Kasparek will also take part in educational presentations with athletes, their coaches and families about competing in the heat, fueling up the day of the race and providing information about dietary supplements.

Munce attended the event last year and observed a wide variety of support — or lack thereof from teams competing.

“Some teams bring their own physical therapists to care for them. Others don’t even bring their own tape for ankles,” he said. “The range of preparedness is quite striking, and you can see the gaps in care that exist.”

The partnership with the NSAF also means increased exposure for the work the Sanford Health scientists do. The SSSI logo will appear multiple times during the national meet.

This August, the premier javelin and triple jump high school athletes will be coming back to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for the second straight year. The SSSI and the NSAF will host performance clinics and testing Aug. 9-12.

The testing will take place at the Sanford Pentagon and Sanford Fieldhouse with performance clinics for athletes and coaches taking place at Howard Wood Field. Sanford Health will conduct research in conjunction with the NSAF to help with the development of future Olympic hopefuls and improve the health, safety and performance of all NSAF athletes.

Whether it’s in Sioux Falls or Greensboro, Munce and the SSSI team will have plenty of face time with the next generation of track and field stars.

“It’s exciting to be there because future Olympians will be competing.”