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Wytheville Native Haley Felts Awarded Colonel B. Ledford Scholarship

Haley Felts and Dr. Ashley StiltnerBRISTOL, Tenn., July 23, 2015 – Wytheville, Va., native Haley Felts has always had a love for science. During her sophomore year at King University, Haley Felts applied for and was recently awarded the Colonel B. Ledford Scholarship by the Appalachian College Association for a research project to study proprioception as an indicator of sprains and other sport-related injuries. Felts will present her research to the ACA at their annual meeting in October 2015.

“I am so excited to have been awarded the Appalachian College Association’s Colonel B. Ledford Scholarship,” said Felts. “It is a great honor.”

The scholarship awarded to Felts was in the amount of $3,040.

Felts will serve as the research assistant to Dr. Ashley Stiltner, assistant professor of Biology and Athletic Training at King University. The research conducted by the two on proprioception, which is the sense of where our body and parts of our body are in space, will seek to determine if having poor balance makes an athlete more or less likely to have ankle sprains or other injuries.

The duo’s research began at the end of April 2015 when the King’s returning fall and winter 2015 student-athletes were given their mandated NCAA physicals. “The physicals are set up in a circuit, and we had one of the stations,” said Stiltner. “[Our tests during the physicals] allowed us to gather baseline information. Once the balance test measurements were complete, the remainder is monitoring injury prevalence throughout the season. The research will take place over the course of a couple of years.”

“We hope to use this information to illustrate that [balance] does correlate, then we can further the project into proprioceptive training as a preventive measure,” added Stiltner. “The more we can prevent the loss of playing time, the better.”

Felts noted, “I approached Dr. Stiltner last spring requesting to be a part of her research. I was looking to gain research experience, and her [research] was very interesting, and I expect great results. It involves looking at a real-life problem and hoping to use the information we gather to help others. These factors completely encompass what I am interested in. I love helping people, and it correlates completely with my extreme fascination with the medical sciences. I also like that the research we are planning is something that is generally unheard of and is a very new idea. I was also drawn to the idea of how much promise this research has for the future.

“In this research I expect to find that individuals with less proprioception will have more sprains and more susceptibility to sprains” continued Felts. “I also expect to find that the athletes on the cross country and basketball teams will be more likely to have more sprains due to the wear and strain that is placed on their joints from the constant running and jumping. I also expect to see, in the further researching we are hoping to conduct, that balance training will make a significant difference in the number of ankle injuries that occur. I believe this research will truly help people.”

Felts is currently studying Cellular & Molecular Biology and Psychology at King. She also works as a lab assistant for Dr. Laura Ong, assistant professor of Biology.

Prior to attending King University, Felts attended Fort Chiswell High School in Max Meadows, Va.; it was there she discovered her love of science. “While I was attending Fort Chiswell High School, I was accepted into the Southwest Virginia Governor’s School for Science, Mathematics, and Technology. So, I was able to take college-level courses during my junior and senior years of high school while still attending FCHS.”

Haley Felts hopes one day to work in pediatric oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “There is a strong history of cancer in my family, which is what sparked my interest in it. I have this strong desire to help them, and I feel I would be able to help them and give them joy.”

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.