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Wrynn Recognized By ISHPES

Published: September 16, 2013

Kinesiology’s Alison Wrynn was recognized in August for her outstanding contributions and research into the history of sport by the 14th Congress of the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport (ISHPES) meeting in Taipei, Taiwan.

The five-day international physical education and sports conference attracted more than 150 delegates from 28 nations. The theme of this year’s congress was “Games and Sporting Events in History: Organization, Performances and Impacts.” Scholars such as Wrynn delivered keynote speeches, joined round-table forums and presented their research.

The conference was hosted by the Department of Physical Education of National Taiwan Normal University with assistance from the Sports Administration, the National Science Council, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Taipei City Government. Wrynn presented her research on the history of disciplinary boundaries among physical education, physical therapy and therapeutic massage and served as a member of a panel that examined the topic of cross cultural exchanges between Asian and Western sports.

Wrynn, who joined the Kinesiology Department in 2000, studies the history of allied health fields related to kinesiology such as athletic training and physical therapy. She has co-authored three reports for the Women’s Sports Foundation on gender, leadership and participation in the Olympic Movement. She is a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and the first woman to edit the Journal of Sport History. Her most recent publication—co-authored with three physicians—is “Dr. Frances A. Hellebrandt: Pioneering Physiologist, Physiatrist, and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Program Visionary” in PM&R: The Journal of Injury, Function and Rehabilitation.

Wrynn joined CSULB after three years at the State University of New York, Cortland. She received her B.S. in physical education magna cum laude from Springfield College, her master’s in the sociocultural study of sport from CSULB in 1989 and her Ph.D. in sport history from UC Berkeley in 1996.

“It’s a great honor,” she said. “This is a group I have been part of for a decade. It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers for your work. This is a chance to share my work with a broad international audience. It’s a good feeling.”

Wrynn feels one reason for distinction is her longstanding ISHPES membership and steady conference attendance. “My work focuses on the history of the discipline of kinesiology or what used to be called physical education,” she explained. “I do quite a bit of work on the creation of the profession of physical education as well as allied health professions like athletic training and physical therapy which both come out of physical education.”

Wrynn was pleased to attend the Taipei conference in August. “I spent 10 days in Taiwan and it was lovely,” she said. “I’d never been anywhere in Asia. It was a great experience despite having a little typhoon while we there. But everyone was very nice in spite of it being very hot.” It also represented the chance to network with scholars from more than two dozen nations including England, Germany, Qatar and Croatia.

Ezra LeBank performing at EPIC Program
Alison Wrynn (r) with President of ISHPES Annette Hofmann from Germany’s Ludwigsburg University.

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Wrynn is in the third year of a three-year term as director of the 25-year-old CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program which is aimed at raising the number of individuals who demonstrate potential as doctoral students and who may be interested in applying for future CSU instructional faculty positions. The Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive loan is $10,000 per year for three years and forgivable for those with full- or part-time teaching appointments at a CSU campus. Currently, more than 35 CSULB faculty members are former recipients of this competitive award.

Wrynn feels that kinesiology impacts all our lives because it represents preventative health care.

“If you can’t stay healthy through exercise, you’re going to have a tougher life,” she said. “Thinking about sport in a more critical manner also impacts the larger world. I ask my students that while they are watching National Football League games to ask whether it is appropriate for people to suffer concussions over and over again for our enjoyment.”

Wrynn believes her recognition serves to remind the public that in exchange for its taxes, it receives excellent future teachers as well as students prepared to enter graduate school in a variety of allied health fields.

“They get people with a strong background in exercise science who are prepared to enter advanced training for allied health fields such as physical or occupational therapy,” she said. “They get fitness professionals who are able to contribute to society. And they get coaches who work in a more humane manner with kids.”

–Richard Manly