The Exercise & Sport Science Initiative (ESSI) draws on expertise from a wide range of faculty across the University of Michigan campus, Michigan Athletics and industry partners to optimize physical performance and health for people of all ages and abilities.

Areas of Focus

Ellen Arruda is developing a football helmet to better protect athletes from concussion

Sport Technology R&D

Man looks through microscope

Data Science & Analytics

Michigan Performance Research Laboratory

Optimal Performance

"The technology that we have here is unique because it can measure very subtle changes in joint movement—movement of the limbs that our naked eye can't pick up. So the purpose of these assessments is really to take all this fantastic research-grade technology and make it accessible to the community."

− Jess Deneweth, MiPR Director

"We do a full clinical assessment, so a musculoskeletal exam and a functional assessment where we look at their movements, and then we get them on the treadmill so we can get quantifiable biomechanical data. Then we use that with what we found in our clinical exam to build a model to help them reach their goals."

− Cristine Agresta, MiPR Postdoctoral Fellow

Michigan Excellence: Academics & Athletics

Research Across the Lifespan

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports:

  • Obese and overweight women have an increased risk of developing complications during and after pregnancy, including postpartum weight retention, cesarean delivery, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, mellitus, and hypertension.
  • Obese and overweight women are more likely to have fetuses that are at increased risk of stillbirth, prematurity, macrosomia with possible birth injury, congenital anomalies, and childhood obesity.
  • Obesity reduces the ability to detect fetal anomalies during prenatal ultrasonography.

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports:

  • On average, out of every 3 children in the U.S., only 1 is physically active every day.
  • In a 2010 study, it was discovered that children spend in excess of 7.5 hours per day in front of a screen.
  • From 2011-2012, the obesity rate in children 6-11 years old was 17.7%, and, as of 2012, only 6 states required students to attend a physical education class every year (K-12).

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition reports:

  • On average, only 1 in 3 adults receive the recommended weekly amount of physical activity, and fewer than 5% of adults in the U.S. are engaged in 30 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • Over 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities.
  • It is projected that by 2030, half of all adults in the U.S. will be obese; on average, medical costs for obese individuals exceed those of normal weight people by over 40%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in regard to noninstitutionalized persons, reports:

  • For individuals who are 65+ years old, over 23% are in fair or poor health, approximately 27% have diabetes, and over 7% need assistance with personal care.
  • For individuals who are 75+ years old, over 75% of men and over 79% of women have hypertension.
  • For individuals who are 65-74 years old, over 36% of men and over 44% of women are obese.