Wilfeur focuses on fatigue, concussions
By Raquel Tuohy
A 2011 graduate of New London High School was chosen as one of six students to represent the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at the Posters at the Rotunda.
The event demonstrates the research done by undergraduate students across the UW system.
Matt Wilfuer, 22, attended New London High School from 2007 to 2011 where he was an honor roll student as well as an athlete.
Currently, Wilfuer is a senior at UWO majoring in kinesiology.
Wilfuer’s research centers around his senior thesis project, which looked at the effects of fatigue on balance and cognitive ability amongst athletes.
“Basically we had our subjects take a balance task and cognitive ability task pretest. We then had them run on a treadmill until they were subjectively fatigued and then we took balance and cognitive ability posttests,” Wilfuer said. “Finally we looked to see if there were significant differences in the pre and posttests which would show whether or not balance affected either of the tasks.”
Wilfuer’s faculty assistant and kinesiology professor, Robert Sipes, is pleased with how the research turned out.
“He did find that fatigue decreased a healthy subjects balance score on an emergent technology application marketed to concussion assessment,” Sipes said.
Wilfuer credits his past as an athlete for driving him to not only choose kinesiology, but also for choosing to do this research opportunity.
“I wanted to be in the medical field and I really enjoy sports so I choose sports medicine and athletic training,” Wilfuer said.
Wilfuer was an all-conference athlete as a pitcher on the New London Bulldog baseball team in 2011. He also played football at the high school and saw how concussions could affect athletes on and off the field.
“In our field the topic of concussions has been very big lately so we decided to choose something in that realm,” Wilfuer said. “Balance and cognitive function are two of the largest components of a concussion evaluation that we conduct so we wanted to see if fatigue caused any changes in these components.”
In the future, Wilfuer says he plans to attend graduate school and thinks this research opportunity will give him an advantage.
“I will likely need to conduct a graduate thesis that will involve a research component,” Wilfuer said. “Being nominated to present at the Posters in the Rotunda event is also a great thing to put on my resume as not all students that have conducted research have had that opportunity.”