Thayne Munce, PhD, FACSM, Lab

 Thayne Munce

Primary Research Focus

Dr. Munce Bio

Dr. Munce and his research team study athletic health and performance with the goal of translating evidence-based knowledge into practical applications on the playing field and in the clinic. A primary focus of this work has been assessing head impact exposure and neurologic function of youth football players to better understand the risk of brain injury in this sport.
  • Associate Scientist, Children’s Health Research Center
  • Director of Research & Development, Sanford Sports Science Institute
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota

Sanford Research - Weimer Lab

Behind the research

Mild traumatic brain injury and concussions rank among the most important and challenging issues in sports medicine today. While the risk of concussion in football is well recognized, there is increasing concern about the effects of repetitive sub-concussive head impacts on brain health. Furthermore, the long-term risk of brain injury resulting from football participation is largely unknown.

We have focused our attention on youth football players, since nearly 70% of all participants in this sport are younger than high school age, yet this group has been studied the least. Our primary approach has been to quantify head impact exposure of middle school football players using the Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System. In addition to characterizing head impact exposure in this population, we have also performed baseline and postseason clinical assessments of neurologic function. These measures allow us to compare individual changes in test performance with head impact exposure throughout the season.

Access Dr. Munce's publications here.


Contact Information
Telephone: (605) 312-6685
Fax:(605) 312-7801


Munce Lab in the Press
Dr. Munce addresses the question “Is football too dangerous?”
Dr. Munce discusses what parents can do to keep their children safe when playing football
Dr. Munce comments on the Sioux Falls Public High School football helmet inventory
Dr. Munce discusses football helmet quality and new safety ratings
Dr. Munce talks about the Sanford Sports Science Institute’s new location at the Sanford Fieldhouse
Dr. Munce gives an update on his group’s research on brain injuries in youth football
Lab News

January 2017 Thayne Munce, PhD, gave a presentation at the South Dakota Football Coaches Association's annual meeting in Sioux Falls. The title of his talk was "Brain injury risk in youth football: what do we really know?"

December 2016 Dr. Thayne Munce attended a traumatic brain injury (TBI) retreat hosted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, NE. While attending, Dr. Munce gave a brief overview of his concussion related research with youth football players.

October 2016, Dr. Munce presented twice at the Northland chapter meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Mankato, MN. His first presentation, "Brain Injury Risk in Youth Football: What Do We Really Know?", highlighted findings on head impact exposure and neurologic function in youth football players. The second presentation, "Heat Illness in Sports: Managing the Risk", discussed heat illness risk factors in sports.

October 2016, Dr. Munce received a grant from Sanford Health Foundation for his research project entitled "MMA brain health and performance."

October 2016, Dr. Thayne Munce presented "Hard-hitting research: Youth football and concussions" at the 2016 SD Chapter meeting of the American Academy of Professional Coders in Sioux Falls, SD.

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