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Lindsay Distefano, Ph.D - University of Connecticut. Storrs, CT, US

Lindsay Distefano, Ph.D

Professor, Department of Kinesiology, and Associate Vice President for Research Development | University of Connecticut


Lindsay DiStefano works to promote safe physical activity in children through physical literacy development and sport-injury prevention.


Lindsay DiStefano is Associate Vice President for Research Development and a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology. Dr. DiStefano has affiliate appointments in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in the UConn School of Medicine. Dr. DiStefano is extremely active with conducting research to determine the best strategies to promote physical literacy and reduce the risk of youth sports-related injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, in children. Dr. DiStefano has published numerous research papers and presented nationally and internationally. She is currently engaged with major research studies to identify best practices for implementation and dissemination of interventions to improve safe physical activity participation and ensure proper development of physical literacy in children.

Areas of Expertise (8)


Youth Athletes

Injury Prevention

Motor Development

Physical Literacy

Physical Activity

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

Sport Safety

Education (3)

University of North Carolina: Ph.D., Human Movement Science 2009

University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill: M.A., Exercise of Sport Science 2005

Boston University: B.A., Athletic Training 2003






Lindsay DiStefano loading image Lindsay Distefano, associate professor of kinesiology,shows children how to exercise on a playground at the Mansfield Community Center on Aug. 3, 2018. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo) loading image



Media Appearances (6)

Getting Involved with UConn Associate Vice President for Research Development Lindsay DiStefano

Madam Athlete Podcast  online


Today I’m talking to UConn Associate Vice President for Research Development Dr. Lindsay DiStefano about getting involved. Lindsay earned her BS in Athletic Training from Boston University before earning both her MA and PhD from UNC Chapel Hill in Exercise and Sport Science and Human Movement Science, respectively. She was hired at UConn, where she researches sports-related injury prevention and recently served as the Department Head for the Department of Kinesiology. Currently, Lindsay is a full Professor and Assistant Vice President for Research Development at UConn. Lindsay is a named fellow of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the founder of Be A Wonder, a foundation focused on helping families of children with rare diagnoses.

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What’s Behind the ‘Middle-Aged Groan’?

New York Times  online


The pain and stiffness that often come with age, for example, can prompt huffing noises, Dr. Davis said. And prolonged sitting may contribute to the sounds, said Lindsay DiStefano, head of the department of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. When you sit for long periods, the muscles in your hips tighten, which makes standing a little more difficult, she said.

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Damar Hamlin, football safety and what we're missing in the 'violent spectacle' debate

USA Today  online


It's a longstanding debate – but one that sports psychologists say is typically oversimplified. "Football certainly poses risks, but I have a hard time saying any sport or physical activity is 'bad' and 'dangerous' as a global statement," says Lindsay DiStefano, department head and professor in the University of Connecticut's Department of Kinesiology.

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UConn Professor Starts Foundation to Help Empower Those Affected by Rare Diseases

NBC Connecticut  tv


An associate professor at UConn, who is at the forefront of researching child health and wellness, finds herself waging a personal battle for two of her three young sons, who have been diagnosed with a rare disease. Dr. Lindsay DiStefano and her husband have teamed up with a Connecticut athlete turned advocate who won his own health battle, thanks to Be The Match, a national marrow donor program.

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How Tennis Star Reilly Opelka Bounced Back From Injury

Wall Street journal  online


Standing nearly seven feet tall, Reilly Opelka towers over most NBA stars. He has eight inches on Steph Curry and three inches on LeBron James. But he prefers to serve balls, not dunk them. The 21-year-old rising tennis star is the tallest player ever in the ATP Top 100 and he’s determined to shatter the notion that big guys can’t win big tournaments.

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Why Kids Shouldn’t Sit Still in Class

New York Times  online


Sit still. It’s the mantra of every classroom. But that is changing as evidence builds that taking brief activity breaks during the day helps children learn and be more attentive in class, and a growing number of programs designed to promote movement are being adopted in schools.

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Articles (5)

No shortage of disagreement between biomechanical and clinical hop symmetry after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Clinical Biomechanics

2019 Evaluating average performance on functional hop tasks can potentially overestimate physical function, as it masks variability present within individual trials and may lead to clinician oversight regarding the overall movement quality. The purpose was to evaluate the trial-by-trial agreement between hop-distance symmetry and knee biomechanics (knee flexion angle, knee extension moment) to reveal the full extent of agreement between these measures.

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Learned Helplessness After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: An Altered Neurocognitive State?

Sports Medicine

2019 Traumatic knee injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains, have detrimental effects on long-term health as they initiate a cycle of chronic pain, physical inactivity, and disability. Alterations in strength and neural activity are factors that contribute to rehabilitation failure after ACL reconstruction (ACLR); however, psychological deficits also hinder rehabilitative success.

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The socioecological framework: A multifaceted approach to preventing sport-related deaths in high school sports

Journal of Athletic Training

2019 The socioecological framework is a multilevel conceptualization of health that includes intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, environmental, and public policy factors. The socioecological framework emphasizes multiple levels of influence and supports the idea that behaviors both affect and are affected by various contexts. At present, the sports medicine community’s understanding and application of the socioecological framework are limited. In this article, we use the socioecological framework to describe potential avenues for interventions to reduce sport-related deaths among adolescent participants.

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Heat Exposure and Hypohydration Exacerbate Physiological Strain During Load Carrying

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research

2019 Heat exposure and hypohydration exacerbate physiological strain during load carrying. J Strength Cond Res 33(3): 727-735, 2019-Heat exposure and hypohydration induce physiological and psychological strain during exercise; however, it is unknown if the separate effects of heat exposure and hypohydration are synergistic when co-occurring during loaded exercise.

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Application of a preventive training program implementation framework to youth soccer and basketball organizations

Journal of Athletic Training

2019 Preventive training programs (PTPs) can reduce injury rates and improve neuromuscular control and sport performance. However, PTPs must be implemented correctly and consistently over time for athletes to benefit. Coaches represent the best long-term option for implementing PTPs. Youth athletes are at the optimal age for developing good habits before maturation. Although frameworks have been proposed to guide implementation efforts, little is known regarding the feasibility and real-world context of PTP implementation at the youth sport level.

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