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UPITT Warrior Human Performance Research
Neuromuscular Research Laboratory
Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


United States Army Special Operations Command


Project Description:

At the request of the Command Surgeon from the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), this research proposal supports development of USASOC's Tactical Human Optimization, Rapid Rehabilitation, and Reconditioning (THOR3) program to identify the priorities necessary for enhancement and change in the current physical training program. The Human Performance Research Laboratory will be established at Fort Bragg, NC for this project in 2012. The overall objective of this research project is to scientifically develop an injury prevention and performance optimization program that is culturally specific and dynamically responsive to the unique tactical demands of the Special Forces soldier. This project will ultimately result in enhanced mission readiness and effectiveness, decreased time lost due to disability, personnel attrition, and financial burden associated with medical expenses and disability compensation. This research approach includes Special Forces-specific task and demand analyses to identify the operational and training-related tasks during which musculoskeletal injuries occur, laboratory tests designed to determine suboptimal parameters that increase the risk of training and tactical injuries while reducing the capacity for peak operating efficiency, and nutritional interventions to optimize physical readiness and wellness. The initiative with USASOC is funded by a $2.8 million grant from USAMRMC and TATRC.

Funding for this project is provided by research grant USAAMRE/TATRC #W81XWH-11-2-0020. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author and not necessarily endorsed by the US Army.


Ft. Bragg Lab Staff

Left to Right: Julie, Tony, and Amanda

Julie Kresta, PhD

Julie is an Assistant Professor working on the United States Army Special Operations Command Injury Prevention and Performance Optimization Research Initiative at the NMRL's UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Laboratory at Fort Bragg, NC. She received her PhD in Exercise Physiology from Texas A&M University in 2011 and her Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2005. She has previously worked in the Exercise and Sport Nutrition Lab at Texas A&M University coordinating research studies related to improving health, body composition and exercise performance. She has also worked as a Research Coordinator for Spinal Cord Injury Research at the Baylor Institute of Rehabilitation in Dallas, Texas. Her research interests include the utilization of exercise training and nutrition for the improvement of physical performance in trained or athletic populations.

Tony Bozich, MS, ATC

Tony serves as a research associate at the NMRL's UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Laboratory at Ft. Bragg.   He returns to the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed his Bachelor's degree in Athletic Training and his Master's degree in Sports Medicine and Nutrition.  Prior to joining the staff at Ft. Bragg, he served as the certified athletic trainer for the University of Pittsburgh’s baseball program.  He has also worked for UPMC's Center for Sports Medicine as a Certified Athletic Trainer and completed an athletic training internship in the NFL with the New York Giants.  Tony’s research interests include the prevention of musculoskeletal injuries and identifying risk factors for musculoskeletal injury in athletic and military populations.

Amanda Rawl, MS.

Amanda is a Research Associate assigned to the NMRL’s UPitt Warrior Human Performance Research Laboratory at Fort Bragg, NC. She completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Health, Exercise, and Sport Science at The Citadel. She assisted in both laboratory and classroom instruction in required physical education courses at The Citadel. She has 5 years of experience working with the Navy and Air Force military fitness training and testing. Her research interests are in optimizing human performance of tactical athletes, health education, and a proactive approach to preventing musculoskeletal injury.