I’ve always wanted to do research that
had immediate impact. I do research with professional baseball players, as well as
firefighters. We are interested in understanding performance and recovery
as well as injury prevention. In 2016 the very first heart rate variability study
was published using baseball players, and it was from our lab. As a result of that,
the concept of heart rate variability has just exploded in exercise literature,
exercise science literature. We’re taking some of what we’ve learned in the
baseball recovery world and are trying to understand the firefighter recovery.
You have this mutual benefit, which is really the beauty about community-based,
or philanthropic supported, research — the agency or the person can get
information, while at the same time some higher level of research questions could
get answered. In the City of Milwaukee, based upon our outcomes and the data
that we’ve collected collaboratively, they have modified and changed fairly
significantly how they prepare a firefighter in the recruit academy. It’s
a pretty rewarding experience to see the students have the “aha” moment that
there’s value in collecting information and using evidence to guide your decisions.