Kaitlyn Weiss

Kaitlyn Weiss

Director, Sport Science, Seattle Mariners, Seattle, USA
Doctor of Philosophy

Helping athletes perform at their best is one of the aspects of her role she loves the most, says sport and recreation alumna Dr Kaitlyn Weiss who is now the director of the sport science department at the Seattle Mariners major league baseball team, and also oversees the team’s nutrition department.

“Before I came here to Seattle I spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. My current role focuses on the development of various sports science initiatives, as well as developing protocols and processes in our larger high-performance department.

“The creative problem solving I get to do in the context of high performance is one of my favourite aspects of my career. I really enjoy building processes and strategies from the ground up. Being able to help athletes perform at their highest level and seeing them succeed is extremely enjoyable.”

While there have been a number of highlights in her career so far, there is one achievement Kaitlyn is particularly proud of.

“While I was working with the Los Angeles Dodgers, my team won the World Series. That was a huge achievement and I’m really grateful I was able to be part of it.”

The right university environment
Kaitlyn, who completed her PhD in sports science and biomechanics in 2017, still has fond memories of her time as an international student at AUT.

“I had long been passionate about human movement, performance and injury prevention in elite sports. I chose to come to AUT to do my PhD because the programme enabled me to complete my research in a high-performance environment and to work with some incredible supervisors and peers. AUT graduates complete their degrees with a lot of experience in sport, which is unique in comparison to the universities here in the United States.”

She would highly recommend AUT’s postgraduate sport and recreation degrees to other students, Kaitlyn says.

“I loved studying at AUT and can’t recommend it enough. The university, staff, students, and facilities were top notch and I learned so much during my time there. I particularly enjoyed the writing retreats with my peers and supervisor, the guest lectures from visiting professors and researchers, and the opportunities to help others with data collections and research.”

Research that benefits athletes
For her PhD research, Kaitlyn investigated the quantification of lower extremity load and injuries in professional men’s basketball.

“I focused on this area because I wanted to use traditional laboratory-based measures in an applied setting to understand the injury problems most common in basketball and find ways to monitor risk in a simple, practical way. The goal of my research was to introduce a novel way – using wearable technology – of monitoring extremity load as it relates to injuries, with the hope of lowering the prevalence of preventable lower limb injuries.

“I enjoyed being able to complete my PhD research in collaboration with a sports team. This practical experience shaped my skills as a practitioner and has been very beneficial for my career. I learned so much from my peers and supervisors and the work they were doing across different areas and in different sporting populations.”

Kaitlyn’s doctoral research was supervised by Associate Professor Chris Whatman and Professor Mike McGuigan from AUT’s School of Sport and Recreation, and Professor Thor Besier from The University of Auckland.