Minimizing the risk of injuries in tactical athletes

Roger Kollock joined the Oxley College of Health Sciences this year as assistant professor of Athletic Training and Exercise Sports Science. He comes to The University of Tulsa bringing extensive research experience in the area of injury prevention. His research focuses on optimizing health and performance of tactical athletes through the identification risk factors associated to musculoskeletal injuries sustained during work-related duties.

Kollock’s passion for working with tactical athletes began during his Ph.D. work at Old Dominion University and was further fueled through his work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Auburn University’s distinguished Warrior Research Center. “As a postdoctoral fellow within the Warrior Research Center, I served an integral role on a project supported by the United States Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL), part of which investigated the neuromuscular, biomechanical, and physiological responses to spinal loading in warfighters,” said Kollock.

“Warfighters are often required to work in environments that require them to carry or wear heavy loads such as rucksacks and personal protective equipment, or to be exposed to vehicle (or aircraft) vibration or the high g-forces experienced in fighter jets — all of which may pose a potential injury risk to the spine and other areas of the musculoskeletal system. As we get a better understanding of that unique work environment, we can begin to develop different intervention programs to minimize their risk of injury while they are performing their essential job duties,” Kollock said. The answers might include more ergonomically designed seats to help reduce force transmission to vehicle occupants and/or development of exercise-based prevention programs to withstand the forces experienced while in vehicles or carrying heavy loads.”

“Similar research also can be applied to assist firefighters and law enforcement officers whose job requires a high level of fitness,” Kollock continued. Such fields call for the workers “to be in top physical condition to perform their jobs and minimize the risk of injury.” Firefighters also are required to carry heavy loads while performing job specific duties, he said, and he plans to build relationships with local fire departments to study injury prevention, as well as the long-term health effects of injury.

Kollock’s interest in sports medicine began when he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina, where he also played football. He went on to receive a master of arts in Physical Education with a focus in Sports Science from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., before obtaining his Ph.D. in Human Movement Science at Old Dominion and doing his fellowship at Auburn University within the Warrior Research Center.

Most recently he was assistant professor and clinical education coordinator in the athletic training program at Northern Kentucky University. While obtaining his degrees, since 2001, he has worked in semi-professional, military, collegiate, high school and outpatient rehabilitation settings as a Certified Athletic Trainer. Kollock is also a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has written or co-written numerous scientific abstracts and articles in refereed journals.