2015 Nike Award Winner

2015 Nike Award WinnerThe results of the 2015 Nike Award were announced during the banquet to end the 2015 Footwear Biomechanics Symposium in Liverpool. During the special Nike Award session which ended the scientific presentations at the conference, the four finalists selected for the Nike Award each gave a 15 minute presentation of their research which focused on advancements in footwear research.

While all the presentations were high quality and well received by the audience, following a question period by the scientific footwear community in attendance, the Nike Award committee members voted on the winner. Judging was based both on the oral presentation in addition to the finalists full paper that was submitted and reviewed four months earlier. After a close competition, the 2015 Nike Award was awarded to:

Steffen Willwacher - The free moment in running and its relationship to joint loading and injury risk

The study describes the variability of free moment application to the ground during straight running at a speed of 3.5 m/s observed in a comparably big subject sample (n=222). Using functional PCA and cluster analysis techniques, three main application patterns could be extracted by the dataset. These patterns show significant differences in lower extremity joint moments in the transversal but also frontal plane of motion. The first two eigen functions extracted by the fPCA can be further interpreted with respect to two fundamental functions of free moment application to the ground, general whole body angular momentum control and compensation of insufficient angular momentum cancelation between upper and lower body in the transversal plane of motion. In the prospective part of the study (6 months follow up) some initial evidence was found that increased free moment amplitudes might also play a role in the development of patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome, even though the number of injured runners was too low to perform a valid statistical analysis.

In winning the 2015 Nike Award, Dr. Willwacher’s paper will be featured in an upcoming issue of Footwear Science, in addition to the author receiving the $25,000 US prize from Nike and the official Nike Award statue.

The Footwear Biomechanics Group would like to thank Dr. Matt Nurse and Nike for their continued support of the group and conferences in addition of the continuation of the Nike Award for the 2017 symposium. Details on the next award will be posted in the near future.