Ben Noonan, MD, MS, Lab

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Primary Research Group

Environmental Influences on Health & Disease 

Dr. Noonan Bio

  • Michelle BaackCo-Medical Director, Sanford Sports Science Institute
  • Assistant Scientist, Environmental Influences on Health & Disease
  • Orthopedic Surgeon Specializing in Sports Medicine, Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Academic Affiliations
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of North Dakota School of Medicine

Primary Research Focus

Dr. Noonan and his research team study athletic health and performance. A primary focus of this work has been assessing hockey player’s physiological and biomechanical performance. The research team also focuses on musculoskeletal injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). Dr. Noonan also contributes regularly to scientific medical journals focusing on current issues in orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal injury management.

Behind the Research

Sports professionals routinely assess athletes’ physiological performance using batteries of performance tests, such as those used in the NFL or NHL combine. Unfortunately, many commonly used tests and the systems used to measure performance have not been rigorously evaluated. Understanding a test’s validity and reliability is critical, especially when college scholarship or professional salary is considered. We have focused our attention on evaluating commonly used timing systems and developing practical, reliable, and valid hockey specific physiological performance tests.

Musculoskeletal injuries, such as ACL tears or FAI, have large financial, personal, and professional consequences on the health care system and the injured athlete. Understanding biomechanical factors of movement surrounding these injuries plays a crucial role in preventing them. With this information, we can develop screens to identify those at an increased risk for injury and enhance rehabilitation protocols after the injury occurs to reduce the risk of a secondary injury. We quantify an athlete’s movement using 2D and 3D motion capture and analyses, which allows us to breakdown an athlete’s movement to identify risky movement patterns.


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