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

Trainer tapes up student-athlete's hand

Injury Prevention, Diagnosis and Management

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

Sport Technology


Data Science & Analytics

U-M student-athlete undergoes performance assessment

Optimal Performance

"Current helmets do a very good job of reducing force, and that’s important in preventing brain injuries and skull fractures, but they don’t do a very good job of mitigating impulse. That’s what our whole design strategy revolves around—mitigating force and dissipating energy. You really have to reduce both to prevent brain injury."

− Ellen Arruda, Maria Comninou Collegiate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

"We've come up with a totally new concept of how to make efficient impact-mitigating structures that could dissipate energy without being damaged. And we used basic concepts of mechanics to develop a fundamental understanding of how to protect delicate structures such as the brain."

− Michael Thouless, Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Michigan Excellence: Academics & Athletics