By: Damon Markiewicz
The Springfield College School of Physical Education, Performance, and Sport Leadership (PEPSL) led a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peter V. Karpovich Lecture on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. Professor of Exercise Science and Director of Exercise Physiology Samuel A.E. Headley delivered the keynote presentation.
“Professor Headley was the perfect selection for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Karpovich Lecture,” explained School of Physical Education, Performance, and Sport Leadership Dean M. Susan Guyer, PhD’03. “Dr. Headley has been a part of some very impactful research work on the campus, and he emphasizes that his research is always part of a team effort. His collaboration with his peers and his students has been inspiring to witness.”
During his presentation, Headley highlighted some of the important exercise physiology research that he has completed as a faculty member, while also sharing the relevant exercise physiology research that his research groups have collaborated on at the College since 1993. During his time at the College, Headley’s research has covered lifestyle interventions, such as diet and exercise training, to treat chronic, noncommunicable diseases. These chronic conditions particularly impact minority health, including hypertension and chronic kidney disease.
“I have been blessed to collaborate with so many amazing individuals, who together as a team, we have been able to produce some impactful research and help people, which is what it truly is about,” added Headley.
Headley joined the Springfield College faculty team in 1992, and he is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Headley has served as a principal investigator or co-investigator on numerous grants and contracts throughout his career.
As part of being named the inaugural recipient of the Karpovich Chair for Wellness at Springfield College in 2018, Headley led a nationwide team of twelve distinguished scholars and researchers to delve into the potential interactions of prebiotic supplementation and moderate aerobic exercise training on critical health concerns of chronic kidney disease patients, ranging from inflammatory responses that predispose kidney patients to premature death due to cardiovascular disease to psychological markers of health and well-being.
“Our group was excited for the opportunity to test our hypotheses because we believed our work had a potential to positively impact upon the lives of patients who have chronic kidney disease,” Headley explained.
Karpovich’s legacy continues to live on in the scholarly work performed by faculty teams at the College, including Headley’s work in the Exercise Science and Sport Studies Laboratory. As part of Headley’s presentation, he recapped the impact that Dr. Karpovich had not only at the College, but the influence he had on so many academic concentrations throughout the country. Karpovich was a member of the Springfield College faculty from 1927 until 1969. He was a founder of the American College of Sports Medicine, and he is widely considered the father of exercise physiology in the United States, having published over 130 journal articles in the field.
“It truly is remarkable the impact that Dr. Karpovich has had on our society,” added Headley. “The contribution that Dr. Karpovich has made on so many academic disciplines is very impressive. He laid the foundations for exercise science, strength and conditioning, and sport science, while he was here at Springfield. Also, you can make a case he impacted physical therapy and athletic training, programs that have students take courses in exercise physiology.”
Following the Karpovich Lecture, the Springfield College Office of Alumni Relations joined Dean M. Susan Guyer PhD'03, and faculty members Brian Thompson, Liz O'Neill G'00, PhD'03, Liz Mullin G'08, PhD'11, Michelle Moosbrugger '00, PhD'06, and staff for an evening of re-connecting with fellow alumni, presented by the School of Physical Education, Performance, and Sport Leadership.
With the 2023 New England American College of Sports Medicine Conference (NEACSM) returning to the city of Springfield the day after the Karpovich Lecture, alumni had the opportunity to re-connect with faculty and peers, while at the same time connecting with current students and scholars.
As part of the NEACSM conference, Headley talked with attendees about the impact of Karpovich at the Peter V. Karpovich display. In addition, at right, James Pishkin, Kate Bonanno, Faythe Fifield, and Professor Elizabeth O'Neill represented the Applied Exercise Science program at the annual Academic Bowl competition.