WSU engineering professor teams up with Sport Science

DETROIT - The second season of Emmy-Award winning Sport Science airs on the Fox Sports Detroit cable television channel Sundays at 9 p.m. beginning March 22.

The popular series brings together professional sports stars and scientists who explain athletic feats of the highest level. Wayne State University Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering Cynthia Bir is the lead scientist in the series.

This season will welcome many new athletes into the Sport Science lab, including NFL stars Ray Lewis, Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald, Vernon Davis and Tank Johnson; NBA stars Stephon Marbury, Kevin Love, Amare Stoudemire and Luke Walton; and Major League Baseball’s Matt Kemp and James Loney of the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitcher Jake Peavy of the San Diego Padres.

Sport Science begins this season with host John Brenkus being launched into the air with more than 600 pounds of force by defensive lineman Kris Jenkins. Science reveals that the energy expended by the line of scrimmage over the course of the game would launch Brenkus more than 28 miles into the air. In the same show, Brenkus is choked by legendary mixed martial arts fighter Fedor Emelianenko and pressure readings demonstrate how Emelianenko’s choke-out compares to the choking power of a python.

“The shows are appreciated by a lot of different audiences, different age groups and backgrounds,” says Bir. "In all the shows, we've applied the tools developed in the lab to record, measure and map the speed, force and range of the human body, specifically the athlete. The final product is not only entertaining, but educational.”

In conjunction with the show organizers, Bir is creating curriculum kits for various segments of each show. These kits will give high school teachers the tools to teachparticular scientific topics in an exciting new way. The curriculum kits will be available each week at

Bir says the second season includes various experiments including the use of a new motion analysis technology called Functional Assessment of Biomechanics, or FAB. “The FAB system is brand new. We were literally able to incorporate it into the show just weeks after its release to the research community. Obviously, I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to lend my experience and understandings of this subject to the show, and to bring science in a fun way to such a large audience.”

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