Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Conference convenes medical practitioners to share and develop best practices in collegiate healthcare
held for the seventh time
SAN FRANCISCO – The 2023 Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Conference was held recently from May 11-13 at Park MGM Las Vegas. The annual event convened team physicians, athletic trainers, mental health professionals, dietitians, researchers, medical equipment vendors, and other expert medical practitioners from across the Pac-12 footprint. Over two days, the conference provided opportunities to elevate trends and best practices across a variety of collegiate healthcare topics via feature presentations, keynote addresses, and breakout discussions. Organized by the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Initiative (SAHWBI), the annual event also included the group’s end-of-season meetings as well as several special recognitions for member contributions to the league and initiative.
“This annual conference is a wonderful illustration of the Pac-12’s steadfast commitment to the health and well-being of our student-athletes,” said Pac-12 Deputy Commissioner, Sports Management & Institutional Services, Teresa Gould. “By providing such opportunities for collaboration among personnel from across our world-renowned research and medical institutions and industry-leading athletics programs, our Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Conference helps ensure that we remain at the forefront of student-athlete healthcare and safety.”
The Pac-12 has hosted the Student-Athlete Health Conference annually since 2015, excluding interruptions in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. The Conference has also hosted healthcare summits pertaining to key topics including concussion research (2017), student-athlete mental health (2020), and health equity (2023).
Event Resources: Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Conference
- A complete program agenda for the event, including participating speakers, Planning Committee members, and summaries of Pac-12-awarded grant poster presentations, is available here.
- Video recordings of each presentation from the conference are available here: pac12.me/SAHC-videos.
Event Highlights: Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health Conference
The conference featured a diverse slate of important discussion topics, including several presentations on concussions on Friday morning. Dr. Sourav Poddar, of the University of Colorado Boulder, and Bridget Whelan, of the University of Washington, spoke on behalf of the Pac-12 Brain Trauma Task Force and Concussion Coordinating Unit, respectively. Chris Jordan from Johnson & Johnson’s Human Performance Institute later spoke about multidisciplinary approaches to the treatment of athletic pubalgia.
Research projects funded by the Pac-12 SAHWBI’s grant program were also featured throughout the schedule. These projects included such topics as:
- Reactive postural responses after concussion,
- Improving rehabilitation following anterior cruciate ligament repair, and
- Improving bone health and reducing the incidence of bone stress injuries in Pac-12 distance runners.
The Pac-12 has committed several million dollars towards research via its grants program at Pac-12 institutions since the founding of Pac-12 SAHWBI in 2013. The program is designed to promote the health, general well-being, and safety of student-athletes across Pac-12 member institutions.
The second day of the conference began with updates from the the Pac-12 Mental Health Coordinating Unit and Mental Health Task Force ahead of a presentation from Dr. Roberta Katz, of Stanford University, who discussed cultural issues and the impact of social media on Generation Z student-athletes.
A pair of special recognitions took place during the event, highlighting Lynn Fister and Dr. Kim Harmon. Fister was honored ahead of her imminent retirement as Executive Director of the Pac-12 SAHWBI Grants Program, a role in which she facilitated the submission and evaluation of Pac-12 research grant proposals, as well as impactfully supported the SAHWBI Board in various capacities. Dr. Harmon, head football physician for Washington Athletics and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, was recognized for her years of contribution to the Pac-12 and Pac-12 SAHWBI, having served as chair of the SAHWBI board from 2017-19 as well as the league’s first-ever research development director from 2020-23, among numerous other accomplishments.
About the Pac-12 SAHWBI
Created in 2013, the Pac-12 Student-Athlete Health & Well-Being Initiative (SAHWBI) is a collective effort between the Pac-12 and its member universities to find ways to reduce injuries, share current best practices and latest studies, and conduct research to uncover new ways to keep student-athletes as safe as possible. Learn more at Pac-12.com/health.
About the Pac-12
The Pac-12 Conference is dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders by championing excellence in academics, athletics, and the well-being of our student-athletes. Built on a firm foundation of academic excellence and superior athletic performance, the Pac-12 continues to renew its undisputed claim as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation with 553 NCAA team titles overall, over 200 more than the next closest conference. The Pac-12 also wholly owns and operates Pac-12 Networks, the Conference's sports media company that produces and distributes 850 live sporting events each season, making it one of the top live-sports producers in the country. Pac-12 Networks also offers extensive digital content via Pac-12.com, the Pac-12 Now app, Pac-12 official athletics websites and Pac-12 Insider. The Pac-12 Conference is comprised of 12 leading U.S. universities, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. More information on the Pac-12 is available at Pac-12.com.