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David K. Wiggins

This essay reflects on the status of kinesiology amidst the current pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. Utilizing the metaphor coined by mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson, I contend that the continued success of kinesiology is more plausible if we prepare more visionary birds, those with broader range and a variety of interests, to supplement the more narrowly focused frogs who currently dominate the field. Implicit in the essay is the contention that the field would benefit if it took a more interdisciplinary approach to the study of physical activity, sport, exercise, and other human movement forms as advocated by the American Kinesiology Association and individual scholars in the field. More specifically, I argue that the social sciences and humanities should be provided a more prominent place in kinesiology curriculums and serve as an academic core for all students in the field, irrespective of career aspirations and goals.

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Eleni Diakogeorgiou, R. Richard Ray Jr., Sara Brown, Jay Hertel, and Douglas J. Casa

Athletic training is a health care profession with roots in athletics and kinesiology that has evolved into a critical component of contemporary sports medicine. The aim of this article is to review the history and evolution of the athletic training profession, contextualize the current state of athletic training education and research, and address priorities and challenges that the athletic training profession must confront if it is to continue to thrive. Specific challenges include addressing health disparities in sports medicine, increasing the diversity of the athletic training profession, clearly delineating athletic training’s place in the health care arena, and increasing salaries and retention of athletic trainers in the profession.

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Karl M. Newell

This paper provides reflections on the progress to date and current status of research in kinesiology. The accompanying overview articles in this special issue of Kinesiology Review show that the contemporary disciplinary/professional foci of kinesiology remain, by and large, the same as the initial research and teaching structures of 50 years ago, as outlined in the inaugural overviews. Nevertheless, within this prevailing disciplinary/professional structure, there have been many new developments in movement-related research, including the juxtaposition of novel alignments and integrations of certain specializations of kinesiology. There is general consensus that the quality and quantity of research in kinesiology have advanced substantially, albeit unevenly, on multiple fronts, both within and between the areas of specialization. The research agenda in kinesiology has benefitted from the growing realization of the centrality of human movement and physical activity in contributing to a healthy lifestyle for individuals and societies.

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Jane E. Clark and Jill Whitall

In 1981, George Brooks provided a review of the academic discipline of physical education and its emerging subdisciplines. Forty years later, the authors review how the field has changed from the perspective of one subdiscipline, motor development. Brooks’s text sets the scene with four chapters on motor development from leaders in the field, including G. Lawrence Rarick, to whom the book is dedicated. From this beginning, the paper describes the evolving scientific perspectives that have emerged since 1981. Clearly, from its past to the present, motor development as a scientific field has itself developed into a robust and important scientific area of study. The paper ends with a discussion of the grand challenges for kinesiology and motor development in the next 40 years.

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David I. Anderson and Richard E.A. van Emmerik

This special issue of Kinesiology Review celebrates the 40th anniversary of the publication of George Brooks’s Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education: A Tribute to G. Lawrence Rarick (1981). Written by many of the luminaries within kinesiology, the papers in this special issue highlight the tremendous growth of knowledge that has occurred in the subdisciplines of kinesiology over the last 40 years and the breadth of contexts in which new knowledge is now being applied. Kinesiology has rapidly become an influential discipline, and its breadth, depth, and influence continue to grow. Though not without challenges, there is much to be optimistic about concerning kinesiology’s future.

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Melinda A. Solmon

Scholarship related to physical education and sport pedagogy is rigorous and should be central to the academic discipline of kinesiology. The goal of this article is to situate physical education and sport pedagogy as an applied field in kinesiology, grounded in the assumption that physical education, as the professional or technical application of the broader academic discipline, is of critical importance to the success of kinesiology. A brief overview of the history of research on teaching physical education is followed by an overview of the streams of research that have evolved. Major tenets of research on effective teaching and curricular reform are discussed. The status of physical education teacher education and school physical education programs is considered, and a rationale for a broader view of pedagogy that has the potential not only to promote physical education and sport pedagogy but also to enrich the academic discipline is offered.

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Jane A. Kent and Kate L. Hayes

The field of exercise physiology has enjoyed tremendous growth in the past 40 years. With its foundations in the natural sciences, it is an interdisciplinary field that is highly relevant to human performance and health. The focus of this review is on highlighting new approaches, knowledge, and opportunities that have emerged in exercise physiology over the last four decades. Key among these is the adoption of advanced technologies by exercise physiologists to address fundamental research questions, and the expansion of research topics to range from molecular to organismal, and population scales in order to clarify the underlying mechanisms and impact of physiological responses to exercise in health and disease. Collectively, these advances have ensured the position of the field as a partner in generating new knowledge across many scientific and health disciplines.

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Diane L. Gill, Erin J. Reifsteck, and Leilani Madrigal

As part of the 40th anniversary of the publication of Brooks’s (1981) Perspectives on the Academic Discipline of Physical Education, the authors offer an update on the Sport Psychology chapter, including key developments, topics, and issues in sport and exercise psychology. They begin with an overview of the 1981 chapter and state of sport psychology as described during that time. Then, in the main part of the article, they go through each of the main topics as presented in the 1981 chapter—highlighting what’s gone, what’s stayed, what’s changed, and what’s new. In the final section, they discuss the current state of sport and exercise psychology and end with their aspirations for sport and exercise psychology.

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Mark L. Latash

Motor control is a young and aspiring field of natural science. Over the past 40 years, it has become an established field of study with several important theoretical developments, including the equilibrium-point hypothesis and its more recent version known as the control with referent spatial coordinates, the principle of abundance, the uncontrolled manifold hypothesis, and the concept of dynamic neural field as the means of task formulation. Important experimental advances have included the exploration of the notion of synergies, the links between descending signals from the brain and referent coordinates of the effectors, and applications of motor control principles to analysis of disordered movements. Further maturation of motor control requires focusing on theory-driven studies. It promises fruitful applications to applied fields such as movement disorders and rehabilitation.