Professor shares military research with an international audience

PRESENTS RESEARCH — Meleesa Wohleber is shown presenting her research to an international audience of military researchers, athletic trainers, physical therapists, faculty and other experts. - Contributed

WEST LIBERTY — West Liberty University faculty member Meleesa Wohleber recently shared her research with elite military soldiers at an international meeting, the Fourth International Congress on Soldiers’ Physical Performance, held in Melbourne, Australia.

“I applaud Dr. Wohleber on her recent research and presentation in Australia. It was an incredible opportunity to represent West Liberty University professionally,” said David Hanna, WLU Athletic Training program director and her supervisor. “The fact she was able to make a connection while there and orchestrate opportunities for research for our students in Quantico is icing on the cake. I feel very fortunate to have Dr. Wohleber as part of our faculty.”

The gathering is considered the most important international conference in applied military human performance research, attracting experts from all over the world.

An assistant professor of athletic training and resident of Bethlehem, W.Va., Wohleber was invited to present her study on physical characteristics in Special Operations Forces that predicted lower and upper body injury and how injury prevention programs targeting these areas could reduce the risk of injury in our elite military groups.

“I was invited to speak on the military research that I completed over the last four years just prior to arriving at West Liberty, when I was part of the injury prevention and performance optimization research team at the University of Pittsburgh Neuromuscular Research Laboratory and was embedded with the Special Operations Forces we were studying,” she explained.

While there Wohleber met exercise physiologists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, researchers, faculty and military from many other countries at the conference.

“Many of the same injury and performance characteristics and issues with force readiness are the same challenges in other countries and their military, so having that common challenge and building this research network to address injury risk and physical performance internationally was inspiring. I even met an athletic training faculty from the (University of Nevada) whose parents were West Liberty University alumni,” she added.

“I also got in contact with a researcher who is an athletic trainer doing research with the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., that has a student volunteer opportunity for athletic training students to participate in data collection as part of a large research study. We are hoping to take advantage of this research opportunity for our WLU athletic training students,” she said.

Prior to joining WLU last fall, Wohleber worked at the University of Pittsburgh as faculty, and prior to that she was an athletic trainer at the University of Louisville and the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center.

A native of Pittsburgh, she earned a bachelor of science degree in athletic training from West Virginia Wesleyan College, a master of science degree in kinesiology degree from James Madison University and doctoral degree in health sciences from Nova Southeastern University.