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Patricia Vertinsky

In this paper I view the history of kinesiology in America through the lens of a shifting academic landscape where physical culture and building acted upon each other to reflect emergent views concerning the nature of training in physical education and scientific developments around human movement. It is also an organizational history that has been largely lived in the gymnasium and the laboratory from its inception in the late nineteenth century to its current arrangements in the academy. Historians have referred to this in appropriately embodied terms as the head and the heart of physical education, and of course the impact of gender, class, and race was ever present. I conclude that the profession/discipline conundrum in kinesiology that has ebbed and flowed in the shifting spaces and carefully organized places of the academy has not gone away in the twenty-first century and that the complexities of today’s training require more fertile and flexible collaborative approaches in research, teaching, and professional training.

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David K. Wiggins, Maureen R. Weiss and R. Scott Kretchmar

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Karl M. Newell

In this paper I discuss briefly some traditional and contemporary issues that challenge the academic structure of the field of Kinesiology. These include the long-standing polemics of the profession-discipline debate and the fragmentation of the academic content knowledge, together with the more recent challenges of education or health as the umbrella construct and the relation of kinesiology to physical and occupational therapy. It appears that the essence of our persistent problems remains, but it is augmented with related and more contemporary issues. Thus, these continue to be challenging times in kinesiology, as they are for higher education in general, reinforcing the long-held notion that change is the one constant.

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Maureen M. Smith and Katherine M. Jamieson

Traditional histories of kinesiology generally read as chronological narratives of progress that highlight advancements in performance and technology; pioneering work by faculty and coaches (all White and very often male); the role of physical education in solving America’s crises of masculinity and military preparedness, and now obesity; and finally, stories of harmonious integration where sport serves as a meritocracy and level playing field. These narratives of progress remain prominent in many of the histories of our subdisciplines. Seven “snapshots” of moments in the history of kinesiology are utilized to illustrate often marginalized histories that reflect the profession’s role in creating and reinforcing racial hierarchies. Concluding remarks outline an anti-racist framing of kinesiology that may be worth pondering and outlining, especially as a way to link our subdisciplinary inquiries toward a goal of enhancing quality of life through meaningful, life-long physical activity for all.

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John Gleaves

Human performance enhancement is one of kinesiology’s many vibrant topics for inquiry. Though philosophers in kinesiology departments have offered some contribution to this topic, this paper argues that philosophers could improve their relevance by better engaging the existing scientific research. Rather than simply defending their place at the table, this paper proposes that philosophers build upon existing contributions to the ethics of human enhancement by increasing their scientific literacy. At the same time, this paper argues that certain patterns in philosophical discussions of human enhancement do not connect with scientific researchers. The paper concludes that ultimately philosophers must become more conversant with the language of science if they are going to continue contributing to central questions within the field of kinesiology.

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Yu-Ting Tseng, Sanaz Khosravani, Arash Mahnan and Jürgen Konczak

This review addresses the role of exercise as an intervention for treating neurological disease. It focuses on three major neurological diseases that either present in acute or neurodegenerative forms—Parkinson’s disease, cerebellar ataxia, and cortical stroke. Each of the diseases affects primarily different brain structures, namely the basal ganglia, the cerebellum, and the cerebrum. These structures are all known to be involved in motor control, and the dysfunction of each structure leads to distinct movement deficits. The review summarizes current knowledge on how exercise can aid rehabilitation or therapeutic efforts. In addition, it addresses the role of robotic devices in enhancing available therapies by reviewing how robot-aided therapies may promote the recovery for stroke survivors. It highlights recent scientific evidence in support of exercise as a treatment for brain dysfunction, but also outlines the still open challenges for unequivocally demonstrating the benefits of exercise.

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Teresa Liu-Ambrose and John R. Best

Cognitive decline is a common feature of aging. Physical activity is a modifiable lifestyle factor that has been identified as positively impacting cognitive health of older adults. Here, we review the current evidence from epidemiological (i.e., longitudinal cohort) and intervention studies on the role of physical activity and exercise in promoting cognitive health in older adults both with and without cognitive impairment. We highlight some of the potential underlying mechanisms and discuss some of the potential modifying factors, including exercise type and target population, by reviewing recent converging behavioral, neuroimaging, and biomarker evidence linking physical activity with cognitive health. We conclude with limitations and future directions for this rapidly expanding line of research.

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Catherine D. Ennis

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Steven P. Broglio

Sport concussion has been thrust into the national spotlight with growing concern over both the acute and chronic risk for injury. While much has been learned and applied to medical practice in the previous decade, how the injury may affect individuals years later remains largely unknown. The opaqueness of the unknown has led some to ask if certain sports should be banned. Without immediate answers, what is currently known must be extrapolated and the risks and benefits of sport participation must be balanced.

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Louis Harrison Jr., Albert Y. Bimper Jr., Martin P. Smith and Alvin D. Logan

The African American male student-athlete occupies one of the most peculiar positions in American society. While lauded for their sport performance, they are often viewed as problematic in the broader society. While their performance generates millions of dollars for universities and the NCAA, for most, their labor often produces comparatively little personal gain. While they are recruited as student-athletes, they soon realize that the demands of their athletic commitment renders them athlete-students. Many outside of sport would argue that this is a choice and an informed decision. But we argue much of this is a consequence of the mis-education of the African American student-athlete. We examine this phenomenon through the lens of Critical Race Theory to provide an alternative view of the issues faced by African American student-athletes and suggest an alternative pedagogy that might be investigated to meet their needs.