Three-time Michigan State University graduate Anthony Kontos was one of 13 members inducted into the prestigious National Academy of Kinesiology this fall. The designation is a celebration of distinguished scholarship and leadership in the field, and is notable, with the NAK limiting membership to 165 active fellows, including several current and former MSU faculty and alumni.
Kontos, who specializes in concussion research, is the director of research for the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. He also is an associate professor in the Departments of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh.
“I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition,” said Kontos, whose research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. “It’s a big deal, and quite a rare honor. When Deborah Feltz and Edmund Acevedo called me and asked me if I wanted to be nominated, it was music to my ears and very exciting.”
Feltz, a Michigan State University Distinguished Professor and Chairperson Emeritus of the Department of Kinesiology, served as Kontos’s faculty advisor. Feltz was named a fellow of NAK in 1992.
“Anthony started out as my master’s degree student. I saw promise in him then, and so I vigorously recruited him to stay on for his Ph.D.,” said Feltz. “He always showed initiative and paid attention to detail in his research and learning. As a graduate student, Anthony started on a systematic line of research in the psychology of injury, specifically regarding perceived risk and risk-taking behavior. Students don’t always start out with a plan for systematic study in an area, but Anthony’s plan led to his dissertation, which involved the presentation of a youth-oriented model on the psychology of sports injuries.”
The research was recognized in 2001 as the Sport Psychology Academy Dissertation of the Year from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education.
More recently, Kontos’s research trajectory has shifted to include risk factors, neurocognitive/neuromotor effects, psychological issues and treatment of concussions in the military, pediatric and sport populations. He has 211 professional publications and nearly 300 professional presentations to his credit.
His experience at MSU remains an influential time in his career. He received his master’s in physical education and exercise science in 1995, a master’s in counseling psychology in 1998 and his Ph.D. in Kinesiology in 2000.
“The great thing about MSU was that you had an opportunity to work with some of the big names in the field,” Kontos explained. “There was hands-on mentoring and really good access to faculty, where you could go into their office and have a conversation. Faculty made time for you. Another facet was the breadth of opportunities of coursework, internships and practical experiences—from working with teams and athletes on campus to shadowing medical professionals, to taking courses across the university.”
Kontos is a fellow and past president of the Society for Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology (APA-Div. 47), and a fellow in the Association for Applied Sport Psychology and the Eastern Psychological Association. He officially became a fellow in NAK at the Sept. 22, 2018 meeting of the organization.
In addition, MSU Department of Kinesiology Chairperson Alan L. Smith was officially instated as the secretary-treasurer for the organization for a two-year appointment. Smith was named as an NAK Fellow in 2012.
Related links & news
Spartans are represented throughout the NAK. See a list of MSU scholars and alumni who are members.
Feltz established an endowment supporting a new lecture series: the “Deborah L. Feltz Lecture on Sport, Exercise and Human Movement Science in Africa,” in the Department of Kinesiology. The inaugural lecture will take place on Oct. 2, 2018, featuring Dr. Alison September of the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Kontos, who was co-nominated by Edmund Acevedo of Virginia Commonwealth University, is the lead co-author of “Concussion: A Clinical Profile Approach to Assessment and Treatment” (American Psychological Association, 2018).