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NBD promotes student interest in biomechanics

SUN. | 04-25-21 | NEWS

     National Biomechanics Day (NBD) is an international celebration of biomechanics principles, research and innovation. NBD was founded and directed by East Carolina University Kinesiology Professor Paul DeVita in 2016. This year, NBD virtual presentations took place in the Rose lecture hall on Wednesday, Apr. 14 during fourth period. In previous years, Rose has taken students to the ECU Biomechanics Lab for hands-on demonstrations, but due to COVID-19, presentations took place virtually. Rose biology teacher and Science Department Chair, Michael Walter has contributed to NBD by serving as the contact person for Rose and its students’ participation in NBD since the beginning.

     The process of presenting has been much different since the appearance of COVID-19 because the main idea behind NBD is to provide students with hands-on learning experiences.

     “Like many events during this pandemic, the 2021 NBD event had to be virtual but we were able to allow two Rose students to participate in person,” Walter said. “This not only gave those students a chance to get a true experience of the event but allowed for the other students watching virtually to make a connection with who


Photo contributed by Michael Walter

they were watching via Zoom.”

     The students that were chosen to participate in person by Walter are Lucy Ogle and Jackson Schreiber. In addition to these students, Walter’s AP Biology class, Alice Hyatt’s health science class, and Angie Byrne’s health science class also participated in the virtual presentations.

     “In the beginning, I offered the opportunity to seniors as sort of a “privilege” due to being upcoming graduates,” Walter said. “Due to scheduling conflicts I was only able to have one senior (Lucy) and then it basically came down to who was able to participate and have transportation to ECU leaving Jackson as the next choice.”

     While biomechanics covers all forms of life, most of the events center around humans and human movement. The events can range from musculoskeletal modeling of a runner and a baseball player to canine locomotion. 

     “Jackson demonstrated the ability of the motion capture lab to record his movements while running on a treadmill [and] the motion capture cameras can create a three-dimensional digital image illustrating the various forces being applied to Jackson’s body,” Walter said. 

     Both participants took part in physical demonstrations in the Health Sciences Biomechanics Lab while the virtual students either watched from the Lecture Hall at JH Rose if they were face-to-face students or at home via Zoom if they were virtual students.

     “Lucy demonstrated a machine that measures muscle strength in both the front and back of her legs in order to compare results between her left and right leg looking for any differences between the left and right or even between the front and back which could indicate an injury.”

     NBD sets high school students to explore the field of biomechanics in the hopes that it will drive a more in-depth interest in the idea as well as a possible career interest. The goal is to increase the impact, the influence and the beneficial outcomes of biomechanics on society. 

     “We are hoping through these virtual events, ... [students] will see that biomechanics is where science meets fun,” DeVita said. 

     Since NBD has started, nearly thirty thousand high school students have participated in events involving this celebratory day all around the world. DeVita, Walter and other hosts of NBD aim to provide a platform upon which people unite into one synchronized worldwide celebration of biomechanics.

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