Through their research and leadership contributions, NAK Fellows are noted for how they have progressed the study of human movement. Covassin was one of 18 scholars inducted in 2022.
“Membership in the National Academy of Kinesiology represents the highest honor that the community of Kinesiology scholars can bestow on one of its own,” said Panteleimon “Paddy” Ekkekakis, MSU Kinesiology department chair and fellow NAK member. “During a nearly century-long history, only about 600 individuals have been inducted, which is an indication of the importance of this recognition. We are thrilled that Dr. Covassin has joined this elite group.”
A certified and licensed athletic trainer in the state of Michigan, Covassin has nearly 20 years of scholarly background in sports medicine, specifically sports-related concussions. Her work, which has been cited more than 10,000 times, includes more than 145 manuscripts and several book chapters in journals and publications related to sports medicine, neurology and psychology.
Covassin is known for being one of the first researchers to demonstrate differences in sports-related concussion rates between male and female collegiate athletes. Her research on females being at greater risk for concussions than males informed the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine’s position statement on concussion in sport (2018). Her research has also found female adolescents and collegiate athletes report more total symptoms, show greater vestibular and ocular-motor deficits and suffer greater neurocognitive impairments following sport-related concussions than males.
Covassin is currently the associate editor of the Journal of Athletic Training, and a journal reviewer for several publications, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Sports Medicine, Journal of Sports Sciences, Journal of Sports Behavior and more. She is also a peer reviewer for the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE).
Also connected to her community, Covassin has led the development of a program that has provided more than 10,000 free baseline and post-concussion assessments to mid-Michigan community members.
In addition, Covassin has a strong connection to and sense of pride for the students she has worked with over the years. She has advised 20 doctoral and 52 master’s students. Nearly 70 undergraduate students have presented at MSU’s University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum.
“The students are why I’m here, why I do this work,” said Covassin, who is also the director of MSU’s Master of Science in Athletic Training program.
Covassin voluntarily developed and currently runs a field experience course for undergraduate students to gain a better sense of the athletic training profession by working with preceptors and graduate students.
Within the graduate program, Covassin is committed to upholding the program’s family-oriented and collaborative environment.
“We care about the students at MSU and want to work with them to achieve their lifelong dreams,” she added. “We have a holistic approach here; supporting you both as a human and finding a work-life balance, while also infusing evidence-based research, practices and strategies into our program.”
The NAK Fellow distinction is one of several accolades throughout Covassin’s career, including being named a Fellow of the National Academy of Athletic Training (NATA) in 2016. NATA also acknowledged her contributions with the 2022 Sayers “Bud” Miller Distinguished Educators Award and the 2021 Rachael Oats Leadership Award.
Covassin earned a B.A. in Psychology from McMaster University; an M.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Temple University. She joined MSU as an assistant professor in 2005 and became a full professor in 2018.
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