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Westfield State University well represented at Regional Athletic Training Symposium

Two alumni of the Westfield State University athletic training program and a librarian-faculty team presented their clinical research at the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association (EATA) Clinical Symposium January 10–13, in Mashantucket, Conn. For the third consecutive year, Westfield State was honored with at least one peer-reviewed presentation at one of the oldest sports medicine conferences in the world. Celebrating its 72nd year, some 1,500 individuals attended the annual event. 

Danielle Hunt MS, ATC, ’17 of Burlington, Mass., presented her original research poster A Comparison of Sweat Rate and Sweat Sodium Concentrations Between First and Second Hours of Running While Using Two Different Sweat Strategies. Hunt had previously co-presented a research project at the EATA Symposium, which she developed during her senior year at Westfield State. Since then, she earned a master’s degree at West Chester University (Pa.), where she developed this research for her master’s thesis. Hunt is a clinical research specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Kate Gaglias, ATC ’19 of Ridge, N.Y., presented her Critically Appraised Topic (CAT) poster, The Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Active Individuals with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury in the post-professional free communications track at the conference. Like Hunt’s earlier works, Gaglias’ project was developed during her senior year at Westfield State in Dr. Paul Cacolice’s Athletic Training Research and Clinical Decision Making course. This project initiated from working with student-athletes at Westfield State who had been impacted by concussions. Since the Spring 2019 completion of this project, she has passed the rigorous certification process as an athletic trainer. She is taking graduate courses at West Chester University while continuing her research interest to identify and treat concussions in student-athletes.

The Westfield State University team of Assistant Professor of Movement Science, Sport and Leisure Studies Paul Cacolice, Ph.D., and Corinne Ebbs, M.L.S., head of the Education Resources Center at Ely Library, presented their CAT, Therapy Dog Intervention Decreases Stress and Increases Arousal in College Age Females as a platform during the professional track presentations. This project represented nearly a year’s worth of work to identify, and perform the statistical analyses on the data. It also represents the first meta-analysis to explore the effect of therapy dogs on undergraduate student stress and arousal levels. 

The CAT projects are classified as a very high level of research by the international-based Centre of Evidence Based Medicine due to the exceedingly stringent study design. This chosen study design, the CAT is a meta-analysis of the existing literature, attempting to address a specific clinical conundrum regularly faced by athletic trainers. The projects require that authors perform an exhaustive literature search of multiple medical databases, extract treatment or evaluation data from the selected articles, and then calculate values of clinical meaningfulness so that other clinicians may employ those strategies in their practices. Students attempting the projects require at least two semesters to complete the work.

Image: Kate Gaglias '19 presents her research at the EATA Clinical Symposium, January 10-13 in Mashantucket, Conn.

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