Richard C. Nelson started the Biomechanics Laboratory, one of the first of its kind in the world, on the campus of the Pennsylvania State University in 1967. His vision focused on connecting the physiological and mechanical elements of human performance analysis, specifically sport performance. The lab’s engaging, interdisciplinary environment supported self-designed programs of study, benefiting each individual student. Furthermore, the Biomechanics Lab became the nexus for the development of biomechanics as a field of study internationally. Richard Nelson’s diplomatic skills spread the word initially through the formation of the International Society of Biomechanics. This international effort resulted in the development of national societies of biomechanics around the world, for example, the American Society of Biomechanics. Second, these efforts stimulated the concept of sport performance analysis on the international stage. Richard Nelson’s passion was to analyze individual performances at the Olympic Games. This goal was finally realized, with the development of the Subcommission within the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission and biomechanical analysis projects completed at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Richard Nelson’s vision, mentoring style, and dedication planted and nurtured the seed of biomechanics as a discipline of study around the world.
The reasons for the renaming of the Japanese Society of Kinesiology to the Japanese Society of Biomechanics are explained, and the importance of the International Congress of Biomechanics, the International Society of Biomechanics, and Richard Nelson are outlined.
Kathryn Dainty Davis
As one of the early graduate students of the Penn State Biomechanics Laboratory (1970–1974), I had the pleasure of being involved in the lab developed under the direction of Dr. Richard Nelson. His vision of applying engineering principles to human movement, particularly through the vehicle of sport analysis, inspired many to commit to a career of biomechanical exploration of the many aspects of human movement. By bringing many international scholars to the lab, he exposed his students to innovative and unique approaches to research. By developing technical applications, he made biomechanical inquiry more scientific and applicable. By caring for and mentoring a new generation of scientists and providing them the direction and tools they would need to establish their own labs and careers, he helped us become teachers, researchers, consultants, and mentors for a new generation of students. His love of life inspired us all to further the groundbreaking work he had begun and continued throughout his amazing career. His contributions to the field of biomechanics through his visionary establishment of societies, journals, collegial relationships, and consulting skills have served our community well. It was an honor and a privilege to know and learn from him.
Recollections on meetings with Dick Nelson in the 1970s, his interactions with Soviet authorities, his impact on data collection at Olympic Games, and his work as the President of the International Society of Biomechanics.
James S. Walton
In 1967, as an undergraduate gymnast, I developed an interest in the mechanics of twisting somersaults. In 1969, after expressing a desire to measure and model human motion in a doctoral program, I was advised that Dr Richard “Dick” Nelson was starting a unique program in biomechanics of sport at Penn State University. In September 1970, I was the fourth or fifth doctoral student to join the new program. In 1972, I photographed a cluster of 18 golf balls hung from a 4′ × 8′ sheet of plywood in Dick’s new biomechanics laboratory. The question: “Could I create a 3-dimensional scale that would allow me to locate these golf balls in 3 dimensions?” From these early beginnings, I went on to develop the mathematical foundation for “motion capture” and a career as an entrepreneur and scientist working in a very wide variety of industrial environments in the United States and abroad. Much of my success can be traced back to the 4 years I spent on the Penn State campus. Dick’s efforts in the late 60s and his persistence in the early 70s, and later, were instrumental in creating a new discipline: “Biomechanics of Sport.” Dick: Thank you.
John H. Challis and Stephen J. Piazza
Carly Albaum, Annie Mills, Diane Morin, and Jonathan A. Weiss
Direct, meaningful contact with people with intellectual disability, such as through integrated sport, may be related to positive attitudes. The current study aimed to compare implicit (unconscious) and explicit (conscious) attitudes between adults involved in integrated sport events and those in a comparison group who were not and examine the association between attitudes and degree of integrated sport involvement. An online survey measuring attitudes was completed by 295 adults without intellectual disability who participated in integrated sport activities and 450 adults who did not. Individuals involved in integrated sport reported less negative behavioral and affective attitudes relative to the comparison group, with mixed results for cognitive attitudes. Groups did not differ on implicit attitudes. Greater integrated sport involvement was related to some aspects of explicit attitudes. Involvement in integrated sport may be linked to how participants view intellectual disability, which has important implications for enhancing social inclusion and informing positive attitudes.
Andreas Kuettel, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Carsten H. Larsen
The purpose of this study was (a) to investigate gender differences in mental health among Danish youth soccer players, (b) to discover the mental health profiles of the players, and (c) to explore how career progression and mental health are related. A total of 239 Danish youth elite soccer players (M = 16.85, SD = 1.09) completed an online questionnaire assessing mental well-being, depression, anxiety, along with other background variables. Female players scored significantly lower on mental well-being and had four times higher odds of expressing symptoms of anxiety and depression than males. Athletes’ mental health profiles showed that most athletes experience low depression while having moderate mental well-being. Depression, anxiety, and stress scores generally increased when progressing in age, indicating that the junior–senior transition poses distinct challenges to players’ mental health, especially for female players. Different strategies to foster players’ mental health depending on their mental health profiles are proposed.
Eleftherios Paraskevopoulos, Georgios Gioftsos, Georgios Georgoudis, and Maria Papandreou
Adherence to exercise rehabilitation has been shown to be an important factor that may influence successful treatment. In professional athletes, a significant reduction in exercise adherence delays recovery. The aim of this study was to explore barriers to and facilitators of exercise rehabilitation adherence in injured volleyball athletes. Eight professional volleyball athletes were recruited, and qualitative data were collected using semistructured interviews. All athletes had completed their rehabilitation program after they had suffered a musculoskeletal injury. All data were analyzed using thematic analysis after the investigators ensured that saturation had been reached. Pain was identified as a significant barrier to exercise adherence by all athletes. The provision of social support, including mental, practical, and task related, also had a significant positive impact. The athletes’ ability to develop the necessary coping strategies and confidence on performing exercises at home was also mentioned as a factor that affected exercise adherence, although less often.
Sara Oliveira, Marina Cunha, António Rosado, and Cláudia Ferreira
This study aimed to test a model that hypothesized that the compassionate coach, as perceived by the athletes, has an impact on athlete-related social safeness and psychological health, through shame and self-criticism. The sample comprised 270 Portuguese adult athletes, who practiced different competitive sports. The path analysis results confirmed the adequacy of the proposed model, which explained 45% of the psychological health’s variance. Results demonstrated that athletes who perceive their coaches as more compassionate tend to present higher levels of social safeness (feelings of belonging to the team) and of psychological health, through lower levels of shame and self-criticism. These novel findings suggest the importance of the adoption of supportive, warm, safe, and compassionate attitudes from coaches in athletes’ mental health. This study also offers important insights by suggesting that feelings of acceptance and connectedness in team relationships may be at the root of athletes’ emotional processes and well-being.