From Olivia Bousquet
Two students of fitness and wellness leadership received top awards for their submitted research results from the virtual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine of the Greater New York American College of Sports Medicine last semester. Arriana Patraw and Taylor Alexander from SUNY Plattsburgh won the President’s Cup and the Outstanding Case Study, respectively, and defeated top schools such as Harvard, Columbia and Hofstra.
Patraw, a junior from Clear Lake, won $ 1,200 for her original research on The COVID-19 Pandemic: Can Optimism Reduce Anxiety? A Five-Wave Study of People with Chronic Diseases, ”and secured a place at the national conference in June 2021 to represent the Greater New York chapter. Alexander, a senior citizen from Cadyville, won $ 500 for her clinical case study of a rare foot injury – the Lisfranc Injury.
“I was definitely nervous about presenting, mainly because I am struggling with my own fear,” said Patraw. “However, it was a really great experience and it was a great honor for me to be able to present it at all.”
Patraw’s research began in September 2019 with Andreas Stamatis, Associate Professor of Sport and Wellness at SUNY Plattsburgh, and worked with institutions such as Harvard and Baylor. Her research gathered five waves of pooling information from participants. A five-wave study is rare, as Patraw had to return to the same participants month after month. “Repeated measures always increase performance along with the variant of the pandemic,” said Stamatis. Three pools were collected before the pandemic and two during the pandemic, which helped make their findings relevant to practitioners today. According to Patraw, Stamatis played a huge role in collecting and reviewing their data.
“It’s really important to know that as optimism increases, the level of reported anxiety will decrease and that relationship will remain stable throughout the pandemic,” Patraw said. “So if we can increase optimism, we can decrease fear, especially in populations with chronic illnesses and disabilities.”
In contrast to Patraw’s large pool study, Alexander focused on a rare foot injury – the Lisfranc injury, which is an extension between the first and second metatarsal bones and is often misdiagnosed. She worked with SUNY Plattsburgh and hospitals in Greece where Stamatis is from to better understand how to properly diagnose someone with a Lisfranc injury.
“You first misdiagnosed the injury and the injury needs to be corrected. If this doesn’t happen early enough, the patient can live with these side effects for the rest of their life,” Alexander said. “I’m a budding doctor, so I want to make sure this injury doesn’t go unnoticed and that it can be corrected as soon as possible.”
As someone with tendinitis in his feet, Alexander took the case “to heart”. A Lisfranc injury occurs on a weight-bearing x-ray, which means a normal x-ray or CT scan will not notice. According to Stamatis, clinical cases have no power due to the small pool size, but they do matter for specific cases like a Lisfranc injury and what doctors may overlook.
“I would know [Taylor] was very good and had a very good case study and I just told her it’s up to you, now you need to practice, practice, practice and know what you are talking about, ”said Stamatis. “She looked very confident in the video to explain everything. I thought we were going to win and I said the same to Arriana. I’ve sent her a lot of emails telling Arriana because I know she’s a little more concerned at times. But I’m really proud of them, they deserve it. ”
The annual conference was unable to meet in person due to the pandemic, but did not prevent the SUNY Plattsburgh fitness and wellness leadership department from submitting a record 15 abstracts, according to Stamatis. The participants had to create a 5-minute video presentation and a poster about their research and present their results to a panel via a zoom call.
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