Southeast Graduate Student Honored with American College of Sports Medicine Student Research Grant

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Adam Bruenger, left, president of the Central States Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, presents Southeast graduate student Seth Sievers, right, with a Student Research Grant from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Southeast Missouri State University graduate student Seth Sievers of Jackson, Missouri, has been awarded a Student Research Grant by the Central States Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine for his thesis project surrounding a study of Division I American football linebackers.

Sievers was awarded one of two research grants presented to doctoral, graduate and undergraduate level students in the chapter. The presentation was made at the Central States Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

His research thesis is titled, “Acute Effects of Resistance Training Intensity and Volume on Salivary Hormone Response in Division I American Football Linebackers.”

Sievers says he plans to collect data from Southeast football players in January and use it in conjunction with body composition, sleep habits and stress data to get a good sense of how football players’ workouts are affecting their hormone profiles. He plans to use salivary measurements of both cortisol and testosterone in his research — two powerful hormones that effect how the body builds and breaks down tissues. He will use saliva samples from athletes to find out how much of each of them is present at a given time.

“This information, in conjunction with previous similar studies, can be used by both athletes and coaches to help maximize efficiency of their training, and to develop a sense of ‘how much is too much” for athletes to gain benefit from,'” he said.

“His research focuses on the effects of acute resistance training on stress, as measured by cortisol levels,” said Dr. Jason Wagganer, associate professor of health, human performance and recreation. ‘This study is very unique in that American football players have not been researched very well, especially the linebacker position. Results from his study could help strength and conditioning coaches more optimally assess the amount of physiological stress placed upon athletes, which will optimize resistance training programs.”

The competitive grant required students to submit a research proposal which was then scored by three professional members from the region. Students from institutions in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma were eligible to apply for the grants.

“Seth is very deserving of this grant based upon the novelty of his line of research,” Wagganer said.

Sievers added, “Receiving this grant was a great honor, and a very validating experience for me. Graduate school is a strange crossroads in my academic career. I am both a student and a professional simultaneously,” he said. “Being honored with this grant served to remind me of this second part of my role at the University, and to make me feel as if the things that I’m doing here really are important and noteworthy within my field. Writing a thesis is a long process, and this grant also served to remind me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that all my hard work will soon be paying off in very big ways!”

Sievers is a second-year graduate student pursuing his Master of Science in nutrition and exercise science at Southeast. A native of Jackson, Missouri, Sievers is a two-year member of Southeast’s track and field team, a Graduate Assistant in Southeast’s Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation and employed as a fitness specialist/personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Cape Girardeau. He received his Bachelor of Science in health management, exercise science option, in 2017 from Southeast and expects to complete his graduate degree in May 2019.

After completing his master’s degree, Sievers says he plans to publish his thesis research in academic journals and enjoy some time working in the strength and conditioning field.

“I will be piloting a new high school performance program at Fitness Plus here in Cape, while also exploring additional opportunities to educate and coach local athletes and teams,” he said.

Eventually, he says he plans to pursue a doctoral degree in sport performance and seek a professorship.