Georgia Southern receives $1.5M grant from U.S. Army medical research and development to enhance soldier performance and readiness

Georgia Southern receives $1.5M grant from U.S. Army medical research and development to enhance soldier performance and readiness

November 17, 20233 min read

The Georgia Southern University Soldier Performance and Readiness (SPAR) program received a $1.5 million, two-year grant from the Department of Defense’s U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC). The grant will expand Georgia’s Southern research and programming capacity in injury prevention techniques that ensure force readiness for the Army.

“Through this large-scale research study, Georgia Southern doctoral students have opportunities to be involved in the research process and work directly with soldiers,” said Nancy Henderson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. “Additionally, the grant will fund graduate assistant positions in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.”

USAMRDC’s mission is to provide solutions to medical problems for American service members at home and abroad, as well as to the public at large. The scope of this effort and the priorities attached to specific projects are influenced by changes in military and civilian medical science and technology, operational requirements, military threat assessments and national defense strategies. Extramural research and development programs play a vital role in the fulfillment of the objectives established by the organization.

Research and development funded through this are intended to benefit both military and civilian medical practices.

“The grant investigates different physical training programs to identify those practices that best prevent non-combat injuries,” said Henderson. “Faculty on the research team will seek to advance the body of literature by determining the best educational models to educate soldiers on injury-prevention topics.”

This is the first time that Georgia Southern will act as lead investigator on a collaborative research project with an Army research institute. However, SPAR has long been involved in multiple branches of research with community impact.

“Georgia Southern has several initiatives underway to help improve the health, fitness and performance of military service members, law enforcement personnel and firefighting and rescue personnel,” said Joseph Kardouni, Ph.D., director of the Tactical Performance Group. “The Tactical Athlete Certificate (TAC) program is one of these initiatives that teaches service members exercise fundamentals to help mitigate training-related injuries. The funding coming through Medical Research and Development Command will improve evidence-based teaching methods and inform similar efforts to teach service members within this field. Leaders from health and human performance programs within the Army understand the importance of leveraging partnerships with academic institutions to work toward improving the quality of life, health and occupational performance of soldiers.”

Faculty and students in the DPT program have educated soldiers on injury prevention topics since 2016 and this grant further provides students with the opportunity to assess effectiveness while learning how to improve educational methods with military service members.

“This research is an important next step in delivering on the promise of the SPAR program and Georgia Southern’s close working relationship with Army research partners,” said Interim Vice President for Research and Economic Development Christopher Curtis, Ph.D.

Curtis also noted that funding was made possible by the advocacy of U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and the strong support of Georgia’s legislative delegation in Washington D.C.

Interested in learning more or looking to talk with Nancy Henderson? Simply click on her icon now or Contact Georgia Southern's Director of Communications Jennifer Wise at to arrange an interview today.

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  • Nancy Henderson
    Nancy Henderson Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

    Nancy Henderson is an expert in injury prevention, running form, and assessing meaningful change of interventions.

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