Tactical Athlete research is our mission and our passion.

Our research focuses primarily on innovations that improve readiness through performance optimization, injury prevention and training, as well as improvement of equipment, vehicles, technology and the human-machine interface. We also act as a testing lab for tactical athlete gear, equipment, technology, wearables, supplements, and assessing new and current training programs.

View research by JoEllen Sefton, Ph.D., ATC, on ResearchGate.

View Dr. JoEllen Sefton's publications on Google Scholar.

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Samples of Current Projects

Military Research

  • Technology Development: EX4C: next generation blood and vaccine transport for combat, austere and challenging environments
  • Technology Evaluation: ExoBoot Physiological Assessment
  • Technology Evaluation: Assessing postural outcomes as a tool for diagnosing and monitoring TBI
  • Technology Evaluation: Real-Time Core Body Time Monitoring Via Smartwatch With Machine Learning For Command Level Situational Awareness
  • Prosthetics: Prosthetic device and service satisfaction, quality of life, and functional performance in lower limb prosthesis clients
  • Aviation: Retooling Pilot Workforce Development for Digital Natives

Firefighter and Environmental Research

  • The Effect of Two Acute Exercise Modalities on Physiological and Cognitive Performance During Simulated Firefighting
  • The Effects of a Heated Environment on Response Time and Gait in Firefighters
  • Fitness: Exercise Habits and Resources for Southeastern United States Firefighters

Law Enforcement Research

  • Police Tactical Wellness Program Screening: Fitness screening study of a medium sized city police department
  • Development: activity evaluation and development of a new police physical fitness assessment
  • Fitness: Individualized program to improve police officer fitness in a mid-sized city force
  • Health: The impact of police equipment on officer mobility


Past Work

Military Research:

  • Fitness: Anthropometrics Impact Army Combat Fitness Test Performance in Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets
  • Soldier Fueling Study: This project evaluates physical activity levels, energy expenditure, and supplementation for Soldiers during training.
  • Soldier Training Heat Mitigation Study: This study, conducted in Auburn University School of Kinesiology’s Thermal and Infrared Imaging Lab environmental chamber assessed the effectiveness of a mist fan that was being used during field training to cool Soldiers. The results suggest that the cooling practice was ineffective in lowering core body temperature and may actually be putting Soldiers at risk.
  • Tinnitus: Severity, Reaction, and Intervention in Military Members and Veterans. Auburn University
  • Military Training: Estimation of energy balance and training volume during Army Initial Entry Training
  • Prosthetics: An Evidence-Based Approach to Optimizing Selection of Below the Knee Prosthetic Prescription
  • I-PREP Study: Initial Entry Training Physical Resiliency Enhancement Program (I-PREP) was developed to reduce injury and improve Initial Entry Training Soldier success.
  • Walking, Weight, Injury, and Program of Instruction Assessment: This year-long evaluation looks at factors thought to contribute to Soldier injury and assess how these vary between Basic Combat Training and Armor, Infantry, and Cavalry One Station Unit Training.
  • Physiological and Anatomical Lower Extremity Effects of Long-Term Flight in Rotary-Winged Pilots: A multi-phase, multi-year DOD project assessed the cause of complaints of lower extremity issues in rotary-wing pilots.
  • Spinal Health in Mounted and Dismounted Warfighters: A multi-phase, multi-year DOD project, it assesses the forces in mounted and dismounted Warfighters, as well as physiological changes, adaptations, and interventions for prevention
  • Mounted Dismounted Spinal Health Study: This study included three phases of Military vehicle testing, including Bradleys, M1A2 Abrams Tanks, Strykers, and Humvees. As part of an ongoing project, we assessed vibration and shock profiles of the vehicles in the field.
  • Prediction: of Injuries and Injury Types in Army Basic Training, Infantry, Armor, and Cavalry Trainees Using a Common Fitness Screen


 Firefighter and Environmental Research

  • Firefighter Balance Study: Impact of heat and exercise on functional movement and firefighter physiology
  • Exertional heat stroke: Knowledge and management among emergency medical service providers
  • Heat Safety: The Effect of Heat on Heart Rate Variability During Exercise In Male Firefighters
  • Fitness: The Effect of Two Acute Exercise Modalities on Physiological and Cognitive Performance During Simulated Firefighting
  • Heat Safety: How does physical activity in a heated environment impact biomechanics and response time in firefighters.

Law Enforcement Research

Injury Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation

  • Whole Body Vibration: Vertical and side-alternating whole body vibration platform parameters influence lower extremity blood flow and muscle oxygenation.
  • Whole Body Vibration: Core and whole-body vibration exercise improves military foot march performance.
  • Whole Body Vibration: Whole-body vibration influences lower extremity circulatory and neurological function
  • Interventions: Physiological and clinical changes after therapeutic massage of the neck and shoulders
  • Interventions: Therapeutic Massage of the Neck and Shoulders Produces Changes in Peripheral Blood Flow When Assessed with Dynamic Infrared Thermography
  • Prevention: Sensorimotor function as a predictor of chronic ankle instability
Last updated: 07/11/2023