Mueller honored by national high school organization

Fred Mueller will be recognized by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Frederick Mueller, a professor emeritus of exercise and sport science, will receive one of the highest honors bestowed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Mueller is director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, based in UNC’s College  of Arts and Sciences.

He will receive the Award of Merit at the organization’s annual meeting on July 9 in Nashville, Tenn. The award is not given each year, but is rather reserved for individuals who have made special contributions to high school athletic programs at the national level.

“[Mueller’s] work on behalf of student athletes in collecting and studying data on catastrophic injuries has proved so valuable to the NFHS and the millions of athletes who have participated in sports,” said NFHS executive director Robert B. Gardner.

Catastrophic brain injuries associated with full-contact football appear to be rising, especially among high school students, according to the 2011 report from the Center Mueller directs.

Until recently, the number of football-related brain injuries with permanent disability in high school had remained in the single digits since 1984. However, the tally rose to 10 injuries in 2008 and 2009, and there were 13 in 2011, according to the Center’s latest catastrophic football injury research annual report.

The Center is believed to be directly responsible for nearly eliminating football fatalities, as well as drastically reducing the number of cervical cord injuries to single digits, between the late 1960s and the early 1990s.

Mueller received his undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees from UNC. He has been a member of the faculty for 41years and chaired the department from 1995-2005.