Ben Noonan, MD, MS, Lab

Primary Research Focus

Dr. Noonan Bio

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.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine, Sanford Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Co-Medical Director, Sanford Sports Science Institute
  • Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of North Dakota School of Medicine
  • BS mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
  • MS exercise science and biomechanics from St. Cloud State, St. Cloud, MN
  • MD and residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


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.

Dr. Noonan's publications can be found here. 
Contact Information
Telephone: (701) 417-6000 
Fax:(701) 237-0922 


Lab News

May 2017 Dr. Ben Noonan co-authored a current opinion published in Current Sports Medicine Reports summarizing a recent discussion of sport medicine clinicians and researchers on regenerative medicine and its potential role in youth sports injuries. "Not missing the future: a call to action for investigating the role of regenerative medicine therapies in pediatric/adolescent sports injuries."

May 2017 The 11th annual Sanford Sports Medicine Symposium brought together physicians and scientists to discuss current research findings related to sports medicine and sports-related conditions and injuries. Dr. Noonan gave a research presentation in the Cellular Therapies session on the Biologic Use in the Hip.

August 2016, Dr. Noonan attended the National Youth Sports Health and Safety innovation think tank proposal meeting in Vail, CO. Dr. Noonan presented on youth musculoskeletal sports injuries with a focus on lower-extremity operative procedures. The emphasis of the meeting was on regenerative medicine and cellular therapy options in children.

July 2016, Dr. Noonan and Sanford Sports Science Institute staff member Colin Bond recently published an article in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled: “Comparison of Three Timing Systems: Reliability and Best Practice Recommendations in Timing Short Duration Sprints.”

June 2016, Dr. Noonan and co-authors had a paper published entitled “The Hip in Ice Hockey: A Current Concepts Review” in Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery.

May 2016, Dr. Noonan and co-authors publish in article in Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery entitled: “Biomechanical Evaluation of an Adjustable Loop Suspensory Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Fixation Device: The Value of Retensioning and Knot Tying.”


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