Lindsay DiStefano, PhD, ATC, FNATA



Associate Vice President for Research Development

Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Research Associate, Human Performance Laboratory

Academic Degrees:

Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009

M.A. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2005

B.S. Boston University, 1999

Areas of Expertise:

Dissemination and implementation of preventive training programs in sport, physical literacy, youth sport safety, lower extremity musculoskeletal injury risk identification


Lindsay DiStefano is Associate Vice President for Research Development and a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology. Dr. DiStefano has affiliate appointments in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in the UConn School of Medicine. Dr. DiStefano is extremely active with conducting research to determine the best strategies to promote physical literacy and reduce the risk of youth sports-related injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, in children. Dr. DiStefano has published numerous research papers and presented nationally and internationally. She is currently engaged with major research studies to identify best practices for implementation and dissemination of interventions to improve safe physical activity participation and ensure proper development of physical literacy in children. Dr. DiStefano completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University and her graduate and doctoral degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She resides in Mansfield, CT with her husband and their three children.

Funded Research:

Validating and Promoting Physical Literacy in Children in the United States

Effectiveness of Brain Breaks to Improve Physical Literacy

Comprehensive High School Sport Safety: A Personalized Approach for the Local Implementation of Best Practice Initiatives

Developing Lower Extremity Injury Prediction Models and Evaluating Targeted Injury Prevention Strategies

Youth Lower Extremity Injury Prevention: Monitoring Changes Over Time

Selected Publications in the last 5 years:

*Zuk EF, Kim G, Rodriguez J, Hallaway B, Kuczo A, Deluca S, Allen K, Glaviano NR, DiStefano LJ. The Utilization of Core Exercises in Patients with Patellofemoral Pain: A Critically Appraised Topic. J Sports Rehabil. 2021 May 5:1-4. PMID: 33952714 [online ahead of print]

Venrick CCB, Miraldi SF, DiStefano LJ, Peck KY, Posner LMA, Houston MN, Padua DA, Marshall SW, Cameron KL. Differences in Lower Extremity Movement Quality by Level of Sport Specialization in Cadets Entering a United States Service Academy. Sports Health. 2021 Feb 22. PMID: 33618560 [online ahead of print]

*Scarneo-Miller SE, Kay M, Register-Mihalik JK, DiStefano LJ. Athletic Trainers Perceptions of Health and Safety Best-Practice Policy & Procedure Implementation in United States Secondary Schools. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. 2021;13(2):250-266.

Yeargin S, Lopez RM, Valier ARS, DiStefano LJ, McKeon PO, McKeon JMM. Navigating Athletic Training Position Statements: The Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy System. J Athl Train. 2020 Aug1;55(8): 863-868. PMID: 32577741

Eckard TG, Marshall SW, Kucera KL, Wikstrom EA, Cameron KL, DiStefano LJ, Padua DA. Trends in Movement Quality in US Military Academy Cadets 2005-17: A JUMP-ACL Study. Phys Ther Sport. 2021 Mar; 48:109-115. PMID: 33421738

*Scarneo-Miller SE, Flanagan KW, Belval LN, Register-Mihalik JK, Casa DJ, DiStefano LJ. Adoption of Lightning Best-Practices in the Secondary School Setting.  J. of Athletic Training. 2021 May 1; 56(5):491-498. PMID: 33150373

*Scarneo-Miller SE, Casa DJ, Yin S, Moore TE, Murata Y, Register-Mihalik JK, DiStefano LJ. The Precaution Adoption Process Model in Describing Emergency Action Plan Adoption. Int J Allied Health Sci Pract. 2021;19(2).

Burland JP, Howard JS, Lepley AS, DiStefano LJ, Lepley LK. What Are Our Patients Really Telling Us? Psychological Constructs Associated with Patient-Reported Outcomes After ACLR. J Athl Train. 2020 Jul 1;55(7):707-716. PMID: 32702111

*Devaney LL, Denegar CR, Thigpen C, Lepley AS, Edgar C, DiStefano LJ. Preseason Neck Mobility is Associated with Throwing-Related Shoulder and Elbow Injury, Pain and Disability in College Baseball Pitchers. Orthop J Sports Med. 2020 May 18;8(5). PMID: 32523967

*Rynkiewicz K, Fry L, DiStefano LJ. Demographics Associated with Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome: A Critically Appraised Topic. J Sport Rehabil. 1;29(8):1214-1217. PMID: 32422596

Davi S, Lepley AS, DiStefano LJ, Denegar CD, Edgar C, Lepley LK. Quadriceps Inhibition After Naturally Occurring Patellar Tendon Damage and Pain. J Athl Train. 55(6):608-614, 2020. PMID: 32348153. 

Mala J, Evanovich J, DiStefano LJ, Lee EC, Riley K, McGarry JE. The Relationship Between Physical Activity and Executive Functions Among Youth in Low-Income Urban Schools in the Northeast and Southwest of the United States. J Sport Exerc Psychology. 2020 Jul 25:1-15. PMID: 32711395 [online ahead of print] 

Burland JP, Lepley AS, Cormier M, DiStefano LJ, Lepley LK. Examining the Relationship Between Neuroplasticity and Learned Helplessness After ACLR: Early Versus Late Recovery. J Sport Rehabil. 2020:1-8. Epub 2020/02/09. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2019-0379. PubMed PMID: 32035415.

Adams WM, Scarneo-Miller SE, Vandermark L, Belval LN, DiStefano LJ, Lee E, Armstrong LE, Casa DJ. Movement Technique and Standing Balance After Graded Exercise-Induced Dehydration. J Athl Train. 2021 Jan 15;56(2): 203-10. PMID: 33449078

*Sekiguchi Y, Filep EM, Benjamin CL, DiStefano LJ. Does Dehydration Affect the Adaptations of Plasma Volume, Heart Rate, Internal Body Temperature, and Sweat Rate During the Induction Phase of Heat Acclimation? Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2020 Jan 7;29(6):847-850. PMID: 31910392

*Butler C, Allen K, Lepley LK, DiStefano LJ. Protracted Cardiovascular Impairments After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Critically Appraised Topic. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2019 Nov 19:1-4. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2019-0175. 

Bell DR, DiStefano L, Pandya NK, McGuine TA. The Public Health Consequences of Sport Specialization. J Athl Train. 2019: 54(10): 1013-1020. PubMed PMID: 31633411.

Scarneo-Miller SE, DiStefano LJ, Singe SM, Register-Mihalik JK, Stearns RL, Casa DJ. Emergency Action Plans in Secondary Schools: Barriers, Facilitators, and Social Determinants Affecting Implementation. J. Athl Train. 2020;55(1):80-87.

Scarneo-Miller SE, DiStefano LJ, Register-Mihalik JK, Stearns RL, Denegar CR, Casa DJ. Athletic Administrators Report of Emergency Action Plan Policy Adoption in Secondary School Athletics: The influence of athletic training services. J. Applied Sport Management. 2019:11(3):1-10.

*Scarneo-Miller SE, Sorge JE, Beltz EM, Martinez JC, Root HJ, Burland JP, Trojian TH, DiStefano LJ. The Relationship Between Single Limb Squat and Jump Cut Kinematics. Sports Biomech. 2019 Nov 11:1-12. doi: 10.1080/14763141.2019.1674913. [Epub ahead of print]

Burland JP, Lepley AS, DiStefano LJ, Lepley LK. Alterations in physical and neurocognitive wellness across recovery after ACLR: a preliminary look into learned helplessness. In Press with Physical Therapy in Sport. Accepted September 2019.

Burland JP, Lepley AS, DiStefano LJ, Lepley LK. No Shortage of Disagreement Between Biomechanical and Clinical Hop Symmetry After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction. Clin Biomech. 2019 Aug;68:144-150. PMID: 31212209

Scarneo SE, Kerr ZY, Kroshus E, Register-Mihalik JK, Hosokawa Y, Earp RL, DiStefano LJ, Casa DJ. The Socioecological Framework: A Multifaceted Approach to Preventing Sport-Related Deaths in High School Sports. Journal of Athletic Training. 54(4): 356-360, 2019.

Pryor JL, Pryor RR, Vandermark LW, Adams EL, VanScoy RM, Casa DJ, Armstrong LE, Lee EC, DiStefano LJ, Anderson JM, Maresh CM. Intermittent exercise-heat exposures and intense physical activity sustain heat acclimation adaptations. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 22(1): 117-122, 2019. 

Burland JP, Lepley AS, Cormier M, DiStefano LJ, Arciero R, Lepley LK. Learned Helplessness After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: An Altered Neurocognitive State? Sports Medicine. 49(5): 647-657, 2019. 

*Peckham KJ, DiStefano LJ, Root HJ, Post EG, Lepley LK, Trigsted SM, Brooks A, Scarneo SE, Bell DR. The Influence of Sport Specialization on Landing Error Scoring System Scores in High School Athletes. Athletic Training and Sports Health Care. 10(6): 253-259, 2018. 

Scarneo SE, DiStefano LJ, Stearns RL, Register-Mihalik JK, Denegar CR, Casa DJ. Emergency Action Planning in Secondary School Athletics: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Current Adoption of Best Practice Standards. Journal of Athletic Training. 54(1): 99-105, 2019.

*Root HJ, Valovich McLeod T, Beltz E, Burland J, DiStefano LJ. The Relationship Between Physical Literacy Measures of Balance and the Balance Error Scoring System in Youth Sports Participants. Athletic Training and Sport Health Care. 10(6): 270-276, 2018. 

*Root HJ, Gregorio D, Casa DJ, Denegar CD, Mazerolle SM, DiStefano LJ. Application of a Preventive Training Program Implementation Framework to Youth Soccer and Basketball Organizations. Journal of Athletic Training. 52(2): 182-191, 2018. 

DiStefano LJ, Dann CL, Chang CJ, Putukian M, Pierpoint LA, Currie DW, Knowles SB, Wasserman EB, Dompier TP, Comstock RD, Marshall SW, Kerr ZY. The first decade of web-based sports injury surveillance: Epidemiology of high school girls’/NCAA women’s soccer injuries. Journal of Athletic Training. 53(9): 880-892, 2018.

Kerr ZY, Putukian M, Chang CJ, DiStefano LJ, Currie DW, Pierpoint LA, Knowles SB, Wasserman EB, Dompier TP, Comstock RD, Marshall SW. The first decade of web-based sports injury surveillance: Epidemiology of high school boys’/NCAA men’s soccer injuries. Journal of Athletic Training. 53(9): 893-905, 2018.

DiStefano LJ, Beltz EM, Root HJ, Martinez JC, Houghton A, Taranto N, McConnell E, Pearce K, Muscat C, Boyle S, Trojian TH. Sport-Sampling Improves Neuromuscular Control in Youth Athletes. Sports Health, 10(2): 160-168, 2018.

Padua DA, DiStefano LJ, Hewett TE, Garrett WE, Marshall SW, Golden G, Shultz SJ, Sigward SM. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Prevention of Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury. Journal of Athletic Training. 53(1): 5-19, 2018. 

DiStefano LJ, Frank BS, Root HJ, Padua DA. Dissemination and Implementation Strategies of Lower Extremity Preventive Training Programs in Youth: A Clinical Review. Sports Health, 9(6): 524-531, 2017. 

Palmieri-Smith RM, Cameron KL, DiStefano LJ, Driban JB, Pietrosimone BG, Thomas AC, Tourville TW. The Role of Athletic Trainers in Preventing and Managing Posttraumatic Osteoarthritis in Physically Active Populations: A Review and Recommendations from the Athletic Trainers’ Osteoarthritis Consortium. Journal of Athletic Training. 52(6): 610-623, 2017. 

*Pryor JL, Root HJ, Martinez JC, Trojian TH, Denegar CM, DiStefano LJ. Coach-led preventive training program in youth soccer players improves movement technique. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 20(9): 861-866, 2017. 

Adams E, Stearns RL, DiStefano LJ, DeMartini J, Maresh CM, Casa DJ, Armstrong LE, Huggins R. Heat Exposure and Hypohydration Exacerbate Physiological Stress During Load Carrying. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 33(3): 727-735, 2019. 

Mauntel T, Padua DA, Stanley LE, Frank BS, DiStefano LJ, Peck KY, Cameron KL, Marshall SW. Automated Quantification of the Landing Error Scoring System with a Markerless Motion Capture System. Journal of Athletic Training. 52(11): 1002-1009, 2017. 

Peck KY, DiStefano LJ, Padua DA, Beutler AI, de la Motte SJ, Marshall SW, Cameron KL. Effect of a Lower Extremity Injury Prevention Program on Physical Performance Scores in Military Recruits. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 31(11): 3146-3157, 2017. 


  • Physical Literacy Award, Growing Great Schools, 2016.
  • Research Award for Best Scientific Research Paper, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, 2013.
  • David H. Perrin Doctoral Dissertation Award, National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation, 2012.


  • National Physical Literacy Association Advisory Board
  • Korey Stringer Institute Medical & Science Advisory Board
  • Collaboratory for School and Child Health Steering Committee, Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention and Policy
  • Rowe Scholars Steering Committee, University of Connecticut
  • Osteoarthritis Action Alliance
  • Athletic Trainers’ Osteoarthritis Consortium
  • National Athletic Trainers’ Association Pronouncements Committee
  • Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Research Committee
  • National Athletic Trainers’ Association
  • American College of Sports Medicine
Lindsay DiStefano
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