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Part of a special feature celebrating the success of Memorial's graduates. This feature coincides with spring convocation 2017.

By Sandy Woolfrey-Fahey

James Young is a man in motion.

He has accomplished much in his first year at Memorial, which is not surprising since he is always on the move—fitting for a master of science (kinesiology) student, working with world-renowned researcher Dr. David Behm.

In addition to making an impression with his research and scholarship, Mr. Young is Memorial’s first varsity strength and conditioning coach. He knows what’s required to succeed in the area, as he was a varsity football player during his undergraduate program at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. He also works as a personal trainer and is a weightlifter in his off hours.

In the video below, Mr. Young says that his schedule may seem impossibly full to some, but for him, it’s a labour of love.

Goal oriented

Mr. Young speaks highly of Memorial’s kinesiology program; since arriving in Newfoundland and Labrador he says the faculty has been supportive, friendly and motivated to conduct research, which is positively impacting his experience.

“Memorial is doing all kinds of things to help me achieve my goal of a master’s,” he said. “Even though the university is quite large, the faculty is close and that gives me a small school feel, and helps move me toward my goals. There are so many opportunities here.”

One of these opportunities includes travelling to the Middle East later this year.

“I am going to Qatar accompanied by Dr. Behm to conduct research onsite,” explained Mr. Young. “While there, I will be working with Dr. Monoem Haddad at the University of Qatar, Doha, and will be collecting much of the data at Aspetar.”

Aspetar is the world’s leading specialized orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital, staffed by some of the world’s top sports medicine practitioners and researchers.

Foam roller studies

Mr. Young’s area of study is muscle physiology. Historically, when studies are published that see non-localized benefits to a treatment like massage or stretching—increased pain tolerance or increased range of motion in the opposite side of the body being treated, for example— researchers have suspected that neurological influences are responsible for the non-localized effects, but have not proven it.

“There are so many opportunities here.” — James Young

Using foam rollers [self-massaging equipment], Mr. Young will look at how applying rollers to the body affect the nervous system. For the first time ever, by applying neuroscience to examine something called the H-reflex, Mr. Young’s research will seek to eliminate the guessing game and confirm that reflex inhibitions are indeed taking place.

Long-term plan

Not surprisingly, Mr. Young is already thinking ahead to the future after his research trip in Qatar and the completion of his master’s degree. He is leaning towards continuing along the academic route and completing a PhD in an exercise science or sport-science related program.

“My experience here at Memorial has really pushed me in that direction and helped me realize my potential.”

A longer version of the interview with James Young is available here.

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