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ISU Graduate Student Researching Groin Injuries in NCAA Athletes

December 12, 2022

Jarret Mitton stands in a laboratory

An Idaho State University graduate student hopes to bring his love of sport and science into the medical field by researching the prevalence and mechanisms of groin injuries in NCAA Division I Football.

As a former student athlete, Jarrett Mitton has always been fascinated with understanding how the human body responds during exercise. Mitton, who is originally from Ponderay, Idaho, first joined Idaho State University’s Sport and Exercise Science program to stay involved in sports while expanding his knowledge of exercise physiology and strength and conditioning. He has since found a career path that feels more like a life calling than work.

To Mitton, it became clear that even upon graduating from the Sport and Exercise Science program,  that he wanted to continue his multidisciplinary studies by entering ISU’s Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Mitton is the first student to participate in this new educational pathway that combines expertise and involvement within both programs. As a graduate student, Mitton is using his knowledge of sport and exercise science by researching how factors such as stress, exercise, diet and health can affect athletes' bodies in college, as well as, later on in life. 

His current research titled, Groin Injury: Prevalence and Etiology During Game-Related NCAA Football, explores how common groin injuries occur in the sport of college football and if there is a difference between injury rates on artificial turf versus natural grass.

“This research is important to take a deeper look at, because there isn’t nearly as much data on groin injuries in American football, as opposed to shoulder or knee injuries," he said. "Groin injuries can be extremely detrimental to an athlete's health and ability to play their sport. We are also looking into the literature as it pertains to potential quality of life issues when an athlete stops competing, which may be associated with sustaining a groin injury during athletic competition.”

Aside from Mitton’s research, he also manages ISU’s Human Performance Laboratory through his position as a graduate assistant for the Sport and Exercise Science program. He is able to conduct various graduate research inside the on-campus lab. His hands-on data collection involves testing an athlete's maximal anaerobic output on the wingate bike and aerobic capacity on the treadmill, capturing 12-Lead electrocardiogram and metabolic data including VO2, and understanding how the athlete's body is responding to stress under exercise conditions.

MPH Director Dr. Irene van Woerden said she is excited to see the varied backgrounds and research areas of students, such as Mitten. 

“I look forward to working with Mitton as he starts on his MPH thesis, which combines his expertise in sports with public health. It is a privilege to be able to work with students who bring such unique perspectives to our program," she said. 

Mitton is expected to graduate from ISU’s Master of Public Health Program in May 2024 and hopes to work in the sport science or medical field. Outside of his graduate program, Mitton serves as an ISU sports performance coach and assists with the strength and conditioning for many of the collegiate sports.



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