Meet Alexandra DeJong Lempke, PhD ATC! Alex is a new post-doctoral researcher within The Micheli Center and Boston Children’s Hospital Clinical Effectiveness Research Center in the Orthopedic Center. Her work here will focus on gait biomechanics, running-related risk factors, and running injury prevention.
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Alma maters: Undergrad – University of Pittsburgh; Master’s & PhD – University of Virginia
Favorite sports team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Favorite place you’ve traveled: Amsterdam
What drew you to The Micheli Center: The work being done at The Micheli Center with youth athletes is unparalleled. The biggest draw for me is the ability to conduct research among youth runners, especially because there is still so much work to be done to understand this population’s running biomechanics, injury risk factors, and best approaches to injury prevention.
How did you develop an interest in athletic training and your current area of study?: I became interested in athletic training after I tore my ACL skiing when I was in high school. I was amazed at how much my athletic trainer helped me through the recovery and rehabilitation to get back to a high level of functioning and back to my main sport, running. I knew that a profession dedicated to sports medicine was the right fit for me. After completing my undergraduate degree, I went on to complete my master’s at UVA, where I was exposed to research opportunities studying gait biomechanics. This experience really blossomed my interest in sports medicine research to pursue a PhD and ultimately this post-doctoral research fellowship here at The Micheli Center. Through my work, I hope to carry forward the key components of injury assessment and prevention inherent to athletic training to advance the profession.
What are small changes people could make that would have a large impact on their overall health?: I think something runners often miss is incorporating some element of maintenance stretching and strengthening exercises into their fitness routine. One small change could be as simple as adding in single-leg calf raises while brushing their teeth and stretching their calves following a run.
What is your preferred method of exercise, either a certain activity or specific regimen?: I am an avid mid-to-long distance runner, and am frequently training for 5K to half-marathon races. I have run one full marathon, and am training for my second one this upcoming year!
Favorite motivational quote: “Be grateful for what you have, work hard for what you don’t have.”
Favorite sundae from the bottom up: Coffee ice cream, bananas, cookie dough bites, caramel and chocolate syrup, whipped cream
What are you most excited for in Boston that you have yet to see, do, or experience?: Directly in Boston, I want to experience the Boston Marathon, and a little outside of Boston, I really want to go on a whale watching boat experience!