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SwRI launches global summit to highlight San Antonio's sports science expertise
May 23, 2017

By W. Scott Bailey, San Antonio Business Journal

San Antonio will be center stage this summer when scientists working to improve athletic and military performance gather in the Alamo City for the inaugural International Human Performance Summit.

Southwest Research Institute has created and will host the event as part of a larger effort to showcase San Antonio's expanding expertise in sports science.

The two-day conference, set for July 15 and 16, is expected to attract representatives from the NBA, Major League Soccer, the NCAA and the U.S. Olympic Committee, as well as the military. SwRI officials said the event will feature local human performance experts, as well as several prominent sports scientists and other industry leaders from outside the Alamo City, who are currently working with professional and collegiate teams and athletes.

"This is the first one, but we plan on having this [summit] annually," said SwRI engineer Dan Nicolella, who has worked with colleague Kase Saylor to develop and stage the international conference. "We want to change the focus where San Antonio is the place to come for research, development and testing in human performance."

The decision to launch the global summit was inspired in part by SwRI's development of a Human Performance Initiative. The Alamo City program combines SwRI's work in biomechanics, as well as biomedical device design and testing, with its expertise in electrical engineering and other disciplines to help scientists better understand and quantify human performance.

SwRI has reached out to several experts elsewhere in the world who are also active in human performance - including sports scientists and strength and conditioning coaches in Europe, Australia and the Middle East - to participate in the summit.

Yannis Pitsiladis, professor of sport and exercise science at the University of Brighton, will discuss the latest research in genomics and genetics in sports science at the San Antonio summit.

The hope is that one of the key takeaways from the summit is that more sports teams, athletes, military leaders and researchers will come away from the event with a better understanding of San Antonio's increasing contributions to the study and improvement of sports science and human performance.

"We have the capabilities, technologies and expertise we think we can bring together to address some of the issues in human performance," Nicolella said. "Our intent is that when people think of technology related to human performance in athletics and high-performance military units that they look to San Antonio and Southwest Research Institute."

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