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PAC-12 Conference Grant - U of U School of Medicine

Dan Cushman, MD is a clinician-researcher in the PM&R division who recently received a grant from the PAC-12 Conference for his project entitled, “Overuse Injuries/Injury Prevention: Detection of precursors to Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, and plantar fascia injury in student-athletes with ultrasound imaging.”  This grant is dedicated to a three-year study examining how ultrasound imaging can be used to predict future injuries.  The researchers anticipate that performing a simple evaluation of musculoskeletal structures may be used as a screening test to identify athletes at risk of injury to the Achilles tendon, patellar tendon, or plantar fascia.  This project is a direct extension from the investigators’ prior work on marathon runners, which showed that a pre-race ultrasound helped identify runners at risk for future injury to the affected structures.  This type of work holds significant promise, as preventative medicine is challenging in the musculoskeletal world.  Ultrasound machines are becoming increasingly prevalent, and are non-invasive, risk-free, and portable.  Dr. Cushman and his co-investigators would like to expand this work to the recreational athlete population as one of their next steps.  However, ultimately an intervention will be required to help those at risk for injury to actually prevent it.  This is Dr. Cushman’s first grant from the PAC-12, but pilot funding was obtained from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine’s young investigator award, and from pilot funding from the Division of PM&R.