Membership Spotlight: Max Wardell

Max Wardell is a professional member of ABBS from Ortonville Michigan. Currently, Max is the Medical Director of Throwing at Overhead Athletic Institute. In his current role, Max focuses on throwing biomechanics and instruction for both healthy and injured throwing athletes. Max has always been interested in the science of human movement with a particular emphasis on biomechanics of the throw. His goal has always been to protect as many athletes from injury as possible and facilitate them in reaching their full potential.

His favorite place to travel is anywhere warm during the winter in Michigan. His favorite food to eat are donuts and his favorite food to cook is pizza. Max’s favorite movie is Step Brothers and we would have a dog if allowed to have any pet in the world. If Max could have any superpower he would like to be able to fly or have a 110mph fastball.

Outside of baseball, Max likes to spend time with is fiancé. His favorite holiday is Christmas, and his favorite poem is “IF” by Rudyard Kipling.

Membership Spotlight: Aaron Trunt

Aaron Trunt is from Goodland Minnesota and is both a professional as well as a student. He is currently in a doctoral program for Biomedical Engineering at the University of South Dakota and is a Senior Biomechanical Engineer at Sanford Health.

As a biomechanical engineer at Sanford his role is to perform biomechanics research in sports performance and injury/rehabilitation as well as provide biomechanical analyses for athletes looking to improve performance at any level. Additionally, Aaron looks to use existing tech to design novel analyses of movement and reduce the risk of injury in overhead athletes.

Baseball has always been a large part of Aaron’s life, ever since he began playing through high school and now at the amateur level in Sioux Falls. From an engineering perspective, highly ballistic movements such as the baseball pitch have always been fascinating to Aaron, and trying to understand the role that biomechanics plays in injury prevention and performance is one of those challenging and exciting problems.

Aaron’s favorite place to travel is Northern Minnesota to go hunting and fishing. His favorite food to eat is a burger from TapHouse41. If he was going to cook, he would make breakfast food. Aaron’s favorite movie is Anchorman, and if he could have any animal as a pet it would be a bison.

If given the opportunity to have any superpower he would have super skill-acquisition. Outside of baseball, Aaron likes to golf, exercise, hunt and fish. His favorite holiday is July 4th.

Membership Spotlight: Ben Hansen

Ben Hansen, a board member of ABBS, grew up in Beloit, WI and recently moved to Portland, OR. He transitioned to a new role at Intel as Product Engineering Lead- AI & Sports Technology for their Olympic Technology Group. Focused on bringing biomechanics to the masses via computer vision, hardware, and software development, Intel’s OTG creates biomechanics solutions for the Olympics broadcasts and licensed solutions for its partners.

Prior to joining Intel, Hansen spent 2 years as a Senior Biomechanical Engineer with the Chicago White Sox, overseeing the acquisition of Motus Global’s biomechanics lab, database, and motusTHROW IP/source code. Hansen spent 8 years serving as CTO and VP of Biomechanics at Motus Global, pioneering wearable technology for baseball pitchers alongside contracting biomechanics lab services to sports teams. 

Hansen has a B.S. in biomedical engineering and mathematics from the Milwaukee School of Engineering. During his Ph.D. candidacy at Marquette University (biomedical engineering), Hansen was a motion capture technician for the Milwaukee Brewers and was a summer intern at the American Sports Medicine Institute. Hansen departed his studies to join Motus Global as their first employee.

“The industry has seen many advancements in the past 10 years surrounding wearable sensors and markerless motion capture. Many early stage startups have made great strides in advancing the space. Mass adoption is imminent and I’m excited to get back to developing products that will make biomechanics and human workload data ubiquitous, to help the many.”

Hansen and his Fiance, Steph Armijo have two kids—Jack (named after Jackie Robinson) and Oliver. He enjoys doing research with Steph surrounding her yoga practice for athletes, as well as anything related to exploring the great outdoors.  His favorite food is chicken milanese (an ode to his days in Long Island), and his favorite band is Reel Big Fish. 

Membership Spotlight: Zachary Domire

Zachary Domire is a professional member of ABBS who lived most of his life in Western Pennsylvania. He currently works an an associate professor at East Carolina University and his job is a mixture of teaching and research in biomechanics. He loves the game of baseball in general, but more specifically loves that baseball is an excellent environment to study the effects of chronic high loads applied to soft tissue.

His favorite place to travel is Scotland and his favorite food to eat and cook is Cajun. His favorite movie is Star Wars and if he could have any animal as a pet, it would be a Dog. If given the opportunity to have any superpower, he would want to slow down time. Outside of baseball he enjoys cooking, and his favorite holiday is Christmas.

Membership Spotlight: Jesus Ramirez Garcia

Meet Jesus Garcia, who is a professional member of ABBS from Venezuela. Jesus works for Club Regatas Lima as a coach. With his current role as a coach, he works in sports therapy with training and physical preparation. He is interested in the continuation of preparing physical trainers for the game of baseball.

Jesus’s favorite place to travel is the United States and his favorite food is Chicken and Rice. His favorite movie is Fast and Furious 8. If he could have any animal as a pet, he would have a German Shepherd dog. When given the opportunity to have any super power, Jesus would want to help people.

Outside of baseball, Jesus enjoys all the preparation on and off the field, plays, and concentration. His favorite holiday is New Years! Jesus would like everyone to know that the academic preparation of a person depends on the interest, responsibility, effort, and commitment they have to be better every single day.

Membership Spotlight: Paul DeVita

Paul DeVita, a professional member of ABBS grew up in New York City and Huntington New York. He currently works as a professor at East Carolina University in Locomotion Biomechanics Science. He is interested in ABBS because he has a love for both baseball and biomechanics, which when added together is the definition of ABBS!

He loves to travel around the United States and eat his grandmothers food. His favorite food to cook is a brisket and his favorite movie is On the Waterfront. If he could have any animal as a pet it would be a Panther and if given the opportunity to have any superpower, it would be Math. Outside of baseball he likes softball and his favorite holiday is National Biomechanics Day (NBD). He would like to share that he is bad at more sports than anyone but likes to play them.


Membership Spotlight: Alek Diffendaffer

Alek Diffendaffer is from Colorado and currently works at the American Sports Medicine Institute as a Sports Biomechanist. In his current role, he runs the motion capture lab and leads the data capture, data processing, and data interpretation for athletes injury prevention and performance enhancement. He is passionate about baseball and sports, and feels very fortunate to tie his education with it.

His favorite place to travel is Bar Harbor, Maine and his favorite food to eat is Mexican. If he could cook anything, it would be Pork Green Chili. His favorite movie is Gone in 60 seconds and if he could have any animal as a pet, it would be an elephant! If allowed to pick any superpower, he would want to fly. Outside of baseball, he likes to partake in lawn care activities and his favorite holiday is Christmas.

MLB Membership Spotlight: Ethan Stewart

Following in the steps from last week, this membership spotlight is also a member of the Major League Baseball community.

Ethan Stewart is the Player Performance Facilitator for the Baltimore Orioles. Along with wortking a full-time job, he is also finishing his PhD. Ethan is currently a doctoral candidate in Neuromechanics/Biomechanics from Mississippi State University.

“While this spring training has definitely been different than most, it has been really good to be back working on the field with our athletes, coaches, and all player development staff. COVID has brought about new challenges in completing the job, but we as an organization, have excelled at adapting to the new “normal”. I am excited to see how our players do as they leave this spring training camp, and I am excited to welcome more of our athletes and staff as the next wave of spring training begins. The tide is rising in the Orioles organization and I am excited to see where it takes us.”

Ethan was born and raised in Kentucky, leading to a life-long love of the Kentucky Wildcats. He was fortunate enough to receive his Bachelors and Masters degree from The University of Kentucky in Kinesiology and Health Promotion. In his role as the Player Performance Facilitator, Ethan is in-charge of data collection and analysis of sports science tools. Along with data-collection, he is in constant communication with athletes, coaches, and all player development staff. His favorite part about the job is the integration of sports science into the daily lives of athletes to help increase their performance on the field and decrease their risk of injury. His love of baseball biomechanics comes from not only his time as a baseball player, but also from his advisor Dr. Robert Shaprio.

If Ethan could travel anywhere, he would go to Jamaica with his wife, Megan Stewart. His favorite thing to eat is boneless chicken wings, while his favorite food to cook is frozen pizza. If he is going to get fancy, he will cook salmon and asparagus. The Other Guys is his favorite movie and Brooklyn 99 is his favorite TV show. If he could have any animal as a pet it would be a Husky, which he already has (Skyler). Given the opportunity to have any superpower, Ethan would choose to have the ability to fly, so he could quickly see his family around the demanding schedule of working in the MLB.

Outside of baseball, Ethan enjoys spending time with his family, being outdoors, or playing a sport (in non-COVID times). His favorite holiday is Christmas, because he loves to give gifts to others. Ethan is lucky to call Megan Stewart his wife, even if she does work for a competing Major League Baseball Organization, the Milwaukee Brewers.

MLB Membership Spotlight: Will Vandenberg

As Major League spring training is coming to a close, we wanted to highlight a member of ABBS who also works in the MLB. To start off this membership spotlight, here is a quote from Will on how spring training has been going.

“Spring training has been unusual this year for sure. In a normal year I spend all of spring training at our facility in Arizona, but this year, given the reduced numbers in camp, our Performance Science team has had to split who’s in person and who’s remote, so I am working from home during major league camp and will be heading down to AZ at the end of the month for minor league camp. I’m looking forward to seeing all of our coaches and players and live baseball for the first time in over a year. Despite most of us being remote during major league camp, it has been really productive. Those of us that are remote have been doing a lot of the computer work, research, and data analysis while our teammates that are in person are having the conversations with the coaches and delivering that information. We’ve also been able to have a lot of the meetings that are normally in person over zoom for the people not in AZ”.

Will grew up in New York and currently works for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a Research Scientist. In his role as a Research Scientist he analyzes biomechanical data to improve player performance of major league and minor league players. He is interested in biomechanics because the body is the perfect machine. He finds it fascinating to analyze how everything is connected and how the laws of physics govern the movement of the body. Wil has always loved baseball, so being able to apply biomechanics to baseball has been the perfect combination of his two passions. The nature of the game also creates two very discrete and specific movements, the pitch and the swing, that are perfect for biomechanical analysis.

His favorite place to travel is Italy and his favorite food is pasta. If he could cook anything, it would be meatballs. His favorite move is V for Vendetta and if he could have any animal as a pet, it would be a dog. His favorite holiday is Christmas. When given the opportunity to have any superpower, Will would choose teleportation. Even in a post COVID world, you would be able to live wherever and still work anywhere! Outside of baseball, Wil likes music. He even got a turn table during quarantine and he has been enjoying the ability to build out his record collection.

Will would like to leave us all with this message, “Just because something is statistically significant does not mean that it is real world significant. And question everything, not everything that applies to other sports applies perfectly to baseball. Other sports can provide ideas and directions to investigate, but things do not translate perfectly from one sport to another”.

Membership Spotlight: Taylor Cortright

Taylor Cortright grew-up in Buffalo, NY and is currently a Physical Therapist at UBMD. For her current role as a Physical Therapist, she treats functional mobility impairments in an outpatient orthopedic setting. Her love of baseball came from her husband, who was a professional baseball pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins organizations and is currently a collegiate coach. From years of watching countless games she inherited a strong appreciation for the game and athleticism required to perform it well.

Her favorite place to travel is Siesta Key. She loves to eat pancakes, but her husband does most of the cooking at home! Her favorite movie is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and if she could have any animal as a pet, it would be a Penguin!! If she could have any superpower, it would be to heal anything. Outside of baseball she likes to play card games and board games. Her favorite holiday is Christmas!

Taylor believes that treating functional mobility impairments and/or improving performance is a fully holistic task. As individuals we must take care of our bodies, minds and spirits if we want the best outcomes.