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KEELY SHAW (PhD candidate) takes the podium in Tokyo. Full story on page 10.





Alyssa Wiebe, Communications and Advancement Officer

College of Kinesiology

Thanks to donors like you, and your yearly gift, awards give students confidence that they are on the right track and their hard work is supported by their community. Make your donation today, and open up a world of potential to a deserving student.



Dean's message Dr. Chad London.

Friend of the College Award Winner

Lokombo lands with CFL Roughriders


Read more on this year’s recipients, Dr. Susan Bens and Dave Westbury.

KIN Year In Review

See how we've made progress on the goals of our Strategic Plan 2025.

Publication Date Published by the College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan

Emmarae Dale (BSKI'20) becomes first female football player in CJFL.

9 COVID Pacs

Third-year kinesiology student, Topaza Yu launches new program for kids during COVID-19.



For more information, please phone University Relations at 306-966-5186 or toll-free at 1-800-699-1907. Email us at

Kinesiology student reaches podium at Tokyo 2020

Kinesiology graduate student, Keely Shaw has won Canada’s first medal of the Paralympics in Tokyo.


College of Kinesiology University of Saskatchewan 87 Campus Drive Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B2 Phone: 306-966-1001

In memory of

USask kinesiology researcher and Métis partners collaborate to jig away cardiac woes

Kin Alumna makes CJFL history

Cover photo: Jean-Baptiste Benavent




“I still remember the day I heard the news that I had received a scholarship. I got goosebumps and it instantly eased my mind. Scholarship support has allowed me to do so much more within the campus community!”

After making Huskies history, Nelson Lokombo is now focused on his football future in Saskatchewan.

Fred Sasakamoose.

Fall 2021

Your support unlocks a world of possibilities for USask students

Without you, many students would not have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and make their mark on the world. Through your donation to the Campaign for Students, you support much-needed scholarships and bursaries that give students an extra boost—easing their financial worries and allowing them to focus on their studies.


Sleep and fitness go hand-in-hand

Dr. Heather Foulds will assess the physical, mental, cultural, and social benefits that result from performing traditional Métis social dances.

Kinesiology researchers are looking at the connection between sleep and physical activity among middle-aged women.



Face masks don't hinder breathing during exercise

Colette Bourgonje (BSPE'84) inducted into the Sask Sports Hall of Fame

A new USask study has found that exercise performance and blood and muscle oxygen levels are not affected for healthy individuals wearing a face mask during strenuous workouts.

An athletic career to admire and celebrate.

20 Safely offering recreation on campus

12 Diving into Tokyo 2020

Kinesiology student, Rylan Wiens competed for Canada in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics




Recreation on campus has always been a positive component of the student experience at USask.

College of Kinesiology



2020-2021 YEAR IN REVIEW of their athletic careers, including Emmarae Dale who became the first female player in Canadian Junior Football History, and Colette Bourgonje whose phenomenal achievements have earned her an induction into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

Extraordinary success in extraordinary circumstances! In the midst of a global pandemic that affected us all, the students, staff, faculty and alumni of the College of Kinesiology continued to embody our vision to “lead and inspire movement, health, and performance”. This edition of KINNECTION shares their many stories of rising above the challenges of COVID-19 to excel in developing learners and scholars, taking action for truth and reconciliation, seeking discovery for impact, and engaging with community. In this Olympic and Paralympic year, we had two current students represent Canada in the Tokyo Games. You can read in this issue about the inspiring stories of diver Rylan Wiens and cyclist Keely Shaw. Their success follows in the footsteps of two barrier-breaking kinesiology alumnae that have risen to the top echelons

Enrolment in the College is at an all-time high, with nearly 800 students across undergraduate (increased by 4.4%) and graduate (increased by 2.4%) programs. Part of that growth was made possible through the launch of a revamped B.Sc.(KIN)/B. Ed. degree with the College of Education. This remains a 5-year combined degree, but students are now enroled and taking courses in both kinesiology and education throughout their degrees. The first-year intake was up by over 300% from 2019-20 and new students are keen to become physical and health education leaders of the future. While no one could have imagined that all of our kinesiology course offerings could be delivered remotely, the pandemic prompted exactly that in 2020-21 and through innovation, ingenuity and a Huskielike doggedness to find ways to deliver our courses, students continued to excel. Some of my most uplifting conversations over the past year were with students who expressed their appreciation for the quality of the kinesiology remote offerings, and with the faculty who spoke often of students’ commitment to learn in unique circumstances. Many developments this past year prompted us to make relook at ways to advance Indigenization, equity, diversity and inclusion. Through my role as President of the Canadian Council of University Physical Education

and Kinesiology Administrators, I had the honour of facilitating the development and unanimous approval of commitment statements that will compel progress on Indigenization and EDI fronts by making those clear standards within kinesiology and physical education program accreditation. Our College created an initiative to personally welcome all new Indigenous students and I enjoyed speaking with incoming students last summer as part of that program. While much of the PAC was closed for much of the year, the Fit4U fitness program for Indigenous students transitioned to remote delivery and benefited many students to be physically active during the pandemic. Researchers in the College pivoted in response to COVID-19 and were able to land $2.3M in research funding over the course of the year, including $2M in tri-council funding. Half of that was realized through a CIHR grant to Dr. Heather Foulds and team for a study on the physical and mental health benefits of Métis dance (see more on this story in this issue). Last fall we were pleased with the highly-successful launch of the virtual Don Bailey Lecture Series that featured an inaugural talk by Dr. Joe Eisenmann and a touching appearance by Dr. Bailey himself. The series is made possible by donations in Dr. Bailey’s honour and we expect will be a signature event for the College for decades to come. As amazing as the last year has been, I suspect that a year from now we will be looking back on many new achievements of our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. I look forward to celebrating those with you all!

In extraordinary circumstances, we worked hard last year to achieve the goals of our 5-year plan. Here is how we did it.

Develop Learners and Scholars

769 8% 2.4%

enrolled kinesiology students

undergraduate student enrolment growth rate.

Commitment to Reconciliation


self-declared Indigenous student enrolment, up by 2.5%

Seek Discovery for Impact


in research funding.

in tri-agency funding.


delivery of all kinesiology courses with positive feedback from students.


the Don Bailey Lecture Series.


graduate student enrolment growth rate.


Engage with Community

moved virtually to continue to offer fitness programming for Indigenous students.


CIHR grant awarded to Dr. Heather Foulds to lead a study on the physical and mental health benefits of Métis dancing.

USask Rec offered virtual programming to the on and off campus community during COVID-19.


Launched a revamped

Combined Degree 4



College of Kinesiology

with the College of Education, with the first-year intake up by over 300% from the previous year.


a personalized welcome initiative for all new Indigenous students.

continued to offer USask Rec programs for essential workers.

Groundbreaking research surrounding mask use and exercise during COVID-19.


community participants in the USask Rec engagement survey.

Hilltops Athletic Therapist, Michelle Keene ((MPT’14, BScKin’11) and Emmarae Dale (BScKin'20) during the Saskatoon Hilltops first CFJL game of 2021.


Emmarae Dale (BScKin'20) becomes first female player on Saskatoon Hilltops roster DARREN ZARY • SASKATOON STARPHOENIX

Emmarae Dale (BScKin'20), a linebacker who helped the Saskatoon Valkyries win a pair of Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) titles in 2016 and 2019, is the first female football player to join the Hilltops roster. “What sets her apart is she’s very strong and she’s a great athlete. I was able to watch her with the bag drill with our linebackers. She is at the same level or perhaps a little bit quicker than some of the players. I’m excited to see her have a chance to compete. I think she’ll contribute on special teams, to start, and then we’ll hopefully have a chance to see her at a linebacker spot. - Jeff Yausie, Hilltops defensive coordinator

The Saskatoon Hilltops aren’t breaking down any film these days, but they are certainly breaking down barriers. There’s a new addition — and a new gender — on the Hilltops’ gridiron. Emmarae Dale (BScKin'20), a linebacker who helped the Saskatoon Valkyries win a pair of Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) titles in 2016 and 2019, is the first female football player to join the Hilltops roster. She is also believed to be the first female player in the Canadian Junior Football League’s storied history.

“It’s definitely pretty surreal,” Dale said before the Toppers’ practice on Tuesday night. “Yeah, it’s still hitting me, I guess. I’ve known about it for a while and it’s been in motion for a few months now, but I guess now that it’s brought to light, it’s definitely hitting me all over again that this is happening. “It still just kind of feels like it’s a dream.” Hilltops defensive coordinator Jeff Yausie, as a former Valkyries head coach, got to see Dale first-hand in the WWCFL. “Nothing’s token about this,”Yausie stressed. “We’re not doing this for any (publicity). She’s very talented. “Last week was sort of the first time we saw her on the field with our guys and, to me, she fits right in and does not look out of place at all.” When Yausie coached the Valkyries, Dale was still young and raw. “But to see her grow up and dominate at that level, we kind of had this idea, Tom (Sargeant) and I, in the winter,” added Yausie, noting that Dale was invited to their winter workouts before the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to everything.

Photo submitted by Michelle Keene. KINNECTION 2021


College of Kinesiology


STUDENT SPOTLIGHT While there hasn’t been many full-contact or tackling drills yet, she’s ready to meet the challenge head on, she said. “It’s definitely a little different from women’s football but, so far, it’s been good. It hasn’t been too, too bad.” Coming from the Valkyries, things haven’t been all that different other than the “obvious fact” that she’s playing against men now. “The pace is definitely quicker,” offered Dale, “but I’m excited to keep learning and growing as a football player.” Dale comes from a true football family of six siblings. Two brothers, Anthony and Donovan (MSc'19), both played for the Hilltops. Donovan also played U Sports football for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and University of Saskatchewan Huskies, while Anthony went on to play one season for the University of Regina Rams. Two other brothers played high school football. So maybe this isn’t the first time Emmarae is tackling some male football players? “I guess we had scrums growing up,” she said with a laugh. “We were just around football a lot. We’d do schoolyard stuff or little family games, but usually touch. We weren’t getting too competitive. “That’s where I got my competitiveness, just from playing little games like that all the time.” Dale, a College of Kinesiology graduate, is now working at the Ignite Athletics training facility. She’s set to become the third Dale sibling to suit up for the Hilltops.

While there hasn’t been many full-contact or tackling drills yet, she’s ready to meet the challenge head on, she said. “It’s definitely a little different from women’s football but, so far, it’s been good. It hasn’t been too, too bad.” Coming from the Valkyries, things haven’t been all that different other than the “obvious fact” that she’s playing against men now. “The pace is definitely quicker,” offered Dale, “but I’m excited to keep learning and growing as a football player.” Dale comes from a true football family of six siblings. Two brothers, Anthony and Donovan (MSc'19), both played for the Hilltops. Donovan also played U Sports football for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and University of Saskatchewan Huskies, while Anthony went on to play one season for the University of Regina Rams. Dale is being thrust into a position that is known for its physical contact. It’s not like she’s playing wide receiver or defensive corner back, where contact may be more limited.


“She’s got such a great passion and comes from a football family,’ noted Sargeant. “That’s Hilltops football. It’s just great to continue that family tradition. We feel she’s going to be a great acquisition and we look forward to working with her and developing her, see where it takes her on the football field.” Sargeant couldn’t recall if there has been any female football players in the CJFL in the past, but CJFL media coordinator Ryan Watters confirmed on Tuesday that Dale is indeed the first female player in the league. With the 2020 CJFL season cancelled and no games scheduled, Dale has joined the Hilltops for their 2020 practice schedule as they practice three times a week over a six-week span. “I know this is exciting and an opportunity for us,” said Sargeant. “We’re just excited to have Emmarae. We’re just looking forward to developing her and getting ready for the 2021 football season.” At age 22, Dale has one year of CJFL eligibility that will be extended to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s nice to know that I pretty much have the full year to just get bigger, faster, stronger, and I look forward to keep on getting better and I keep setting up my game,” she said.



College of Kinesiology

Kinesiology student launches

CovidPacs Third year kinesiology student, Topaza Yu , is helping families with school-aged children alleviate some of the stresses of finding accessible and informative educational activities during the pandemic. CovidPacs are care packages that contain youth-friendly and education-based activity resources for families with school-aged children who are currently attending school or an alternative method of learning. “Having experienced the barriers that comes with the lack of access to education due to COVID-19 and also witnessing the direct impact it has on community members at SWITCH (Student Wellness Initiative Towards Community Health) sparked my interest in developing an initiative that tackles this issue,” said Yu. The concept of the project is part of the #RisingYouth program led by TakingITGlobal. The program looks to help youth build Canada and develop life skills by giving back to their communities. Yu was offered an initial $1,500 grant that allowed her to distribute over 50 CovidPacs to families in need. “I've worked with TakingItGlobal in the past for two smaller community grants, which allowed me to develop a ukulele music program called "Uke with Tope" and this current carepackages initiative "CovidPacs" before I was offered the opportunity to scale it up,” said Yu. “One of the TakingItGlobal staff identified me as one of their outstanding alumni and I was nominated for this #RisingYouth Alumni Grant.”

Yu was able to secure one of 13 alumni grants that are awarded across Canada, one per province and territory. With the initial success of her CovidPacs project, Yu was granted another $5,000 to continue its growth. Her belief is that with the new money, she will be able to provide over 150 more packages to families in need of educational resources.

“The CovidPacs will not only offer youth an alternative outlet to learning, but this initiative also aims to address the barriers in accessibility around educational resources and discovering new ways of gaining knowledge,” she explained.

CovidPacs are currently being distributed in Saskatoon, but she does hope to expand the initiative across the province so more families can benefit.

“I have received nothing by positive feedback and gratitude expressed from the families who have received a CovidPac,” expressed Yu.

READ Saskatoon has generously offered their support to help deliver CovidPacs to over 50 Saskatoon to families in need from the previous grant. Yu hopes to continue their partnership and further encourage collaborations between local saskatoon organizations and youth-led initiatives. KINNECTION 2021


College of Kinesiology



The College of Kinesiology PhD candidate raced to a bronze medal in Para-cycling in the women’s C4 class 3,000-metre pursuit early Wednesday morning. “I definitely left it all out there for the (bronze-medal) race and that’s when it really mattered,” Shaw told Cycling Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “I’m so excited to be able to show off all the work the entire team has done in the last five years, and have that come out with a bronze medal for Canada.” Shaw, who is from Midale, Sask., has been a national team member for five years and earned a silver medal at her first Para-cycling world championships in 2019 in the Netherlands and was named Saskatchewan’s 2019 female athlete of the year. She edged out Australia’s Meg Lemon in a furious finish as Shaw earned a medal in her Paralympics debut. “I’m really glad I was able to put down the times that I knew we could accomplish in the bronze-medal match when it really matters,” Shaw told CBC Sports. “I felt way better going into my medal race than I did going into my qualifier, and I think it showed with my performance. Meg was definitely catching up. She gave me the race of a lifetime, especially in the last 500 metres, and I’m just so happy I was able to bring it home.” Shaw earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at USask, and is currently pursuing her PhD in exercise physiology and sports nutrition. Shaw is one of two USask students competing in this year’s Paralympic Games, along with College of Education student Shelby Newkirk of Saskatoon. Newkirk also opened the Paralympics swimming competition in style on Tuesday, setting a Canadian record while finishing sixth in her qualifying race in the 50-metre S6 freestyle race. “It was good. It was definitely fun to get to do my first-ever Paralympic Games race,” Newkirk told Swimming Canada. “I haven’t swam the 50 free in a long time, so it was really nice to get in the water and swim it again.”

Keely Shaw takes the

podium at Tokyo

Newkirk, whose father Rex is a professor in USask’s College of Agriculture and Bioresources, will also compete in the 100m backstroke—her best event—on Sept. 3. Meanwhile, two USask alumna and former Huskie Athletics student-athletes are also scheduled to represent Canada in the Paralympics. Nikita Ens, who advanced to two finals in the 2019 world championships, will join Newkirk in the pool in Paralympic swimming. Ens, a former Huskie track and field team member originally from Meadow Lake, earned a Bachelor of Science at USask in 2011.

USask kinesiology student Keely Shaw has won Canada’s first medal of the Paralympics in Tokyo. Photo: Jean-Baptiste Benavent

Fellow former Huskie track and field standout Jennifer Brown of Calgary will compete for Canada in discus in Tokyo. Brown, who earned a Bachelor of Arts at USask in 2005, was the F38 discus champion at the Canadian track and field trials on June 27 in Montreal with a throw of 28.49 metres. KINNECTION 2021


College of Kinesiology



Photography: Gord Waldner


Friend of the College Award goes to DAVE WESTBURY AND DR. SUSAN BENS

The first Friend of the College Award was presented in 1982.

USask kinesiology student

dives into Olympics ALYSSA WIEBE | KINESIOLOGY

College of Kinesiology student Rylan Wiens, from Pike Lake, Sask., saved his best for last at the Canadian Olympic team trials on July 1 in Toronto, clinching a berth in the Summer Games on his sixth and final dive of the competition. “It feels surreal qualifying for the Olympics. It was a great relief to finally achieve a goal I have had since I was very young,” said Wiens.

Wiens qualified for the Olympics for the first time by earning 983.05 points to finish second to national champion Nathan Zsombor-Murray in the men’s 10-metre individual platform final in Toronto, with both divers booking their trips to Tokyo for the Summer Games, July 23 to Aug. 8. In May, Wiens helped Canada clinch a second qualifying spot in the 10m event in the Olympics by earning a bronze medal at the Diving World Cup in Tokyo.

Opportunities to dive competitively elsewhere continued to be presented to him throughout his career. However, Wiens chose to stay close to home and push himself and teammates, helping put Saskatchewan diving on the competitive map. “I chose to stay at home in Saskatoon to continue diving and further my education because I really enjoy living in the country in Saskatchewan. I know a few of the older divers went through the kinesiology program at USask and they had a great experience.” Although the COVID-19 restrictions won’t allow for his family members to travel to Tokyo with him, he knows they will be watching on television throughout the night, cheering him on. “I know it will be a unique Olympics, and I am excited to say that I was there and got to take part in it,” he said. Wiens ompeted in the 10m event at the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.



• Impacted students or participants in the program, • Increased engagement of alumni, friends or donors, • Improved the curriculum or program offering, • Provided support to the program • And/or acted as an advocate for the College and its programs. This year’s Friend of the College Award winner is Dave Westbury and Dr. Susan Bens. Dave Westbury has volunteered with the Huskie women’s hockey team for over 11 years in various roles. In his most recent role, Westbury holds the position of equipment manager. “I was coaching minor hockey in Saskatoon and Steve Kook asked me to join the team as a video coach,” said Westbury. “A couple days later he asked me if I wanted to learn how to sharpen skates and look after the equipment which led me to meet Peter Herd and I quickly realized that being an equipment manager was what I was meant to be.” Volunteering is said to be in our Saskatchewan roots and Dave exemplifies what it means to give back. The hours and days are long for Dave, but what inspires him to show up early and stay late, is the players. “The players work so hard to maintain their grades and then put a tremendous amount of effort on the ice to make themselves better and the team better as we push for a National Championship,” said Westbury.

A member of the Saskatoon Diving Club, Wiens starting diving competitively when he was only seven years old. Wiens won his first junior national title at the age of 10 and stepped into the international spotlight in 2018 when he represented Canada and reached the finals in the World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and the world junior championships.


This award is presented annually to recognize an individual, group of individuals or an organization that has made a noteworthy contribution to advance the College of Kinesiology such as;

College of Kinesiology

The College of Kinesiology is proud to present the Friend of the College Award to Dave Westbury and Dr. Susan Bens.

Dr. Susan Bens has held the position of Education Development Specialist in the Gwenna Moss Centre at the University of Saskatchewan for 11 years. As an Educational Development Specialist, Susan works with faculty who want to improve or create programs. Her additional interests include approaches for Indigenization of courses and curricula, active learning, course design, and educating students for academic integrity. Susan is a member of the Buffalo Circle – a USask grassroots initiative for allies who support reconciliation and Indigenous Peoples. As an alumna of the college, Susan has stayed connected in a variety of ways since her convocation. Her first role at the University of Saskatchewan, post convocation, was in 1997 as the academic advisor in the College of Kinesiology for three years. Over the years, she has been part of the KIN LIFE programming, planning retreats for Campus Rec, sessional teaching, speaking at the graduation banquet, various Huskie Athletics activities, facilitating curriculum retreats, and talking with people about their teaching.



College of Kinesiology

“The College has always felt like “homebase” to me. It has been important to me to stay connected and involved here because, simply, it makes me feel good to do so! When I visit the PAC, I am guaranteed to run into someone I really enjoy seeing and to be able to share a story or a laugh,” said Dr. Bens. With many new initiatives coming from the College of Kinesiology, Susan has always found ways in which she wants to be involved. Her contributions were spoken highly of by her colleagues to numerous initiatives such as; Dr. Leah Ferguson’s design of an important new required course on Indigenous Physical Activity and Wellness; to Dr. Jon Farthing’s development of new approaches for components of the graduate program and to Dr. Kent Kowalski’s support to all the instructors for the rapid shift of an entire curriculum to remote delivery this year. “It has been a privilege to work with committed educators and leaders in this College who truly care about Kinesiology students’ learning and about all University of Saskatchewan students’ experiences and wellbeing,” said Dr. Bens.


In Memory of


Hockey trailblazer and inspirational community leader Fred Sasakamoose passed away in Saskatoon at the age of 86. A residential school survivor and the first Indigenous player from Saskatchewan to make it to the National Hockey League, Sasakamoose has been a role model and a passionate supporter of providing opportunities for youth to play sports. Sasakamoose was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Saskatchewan on Nov. 10. Born on Christmas Day in 1933, Sasakamoose grew up in a log house in Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation north of Prince Albert, skating on an outdoor pond using a willow stick and frozen horse manure for a puck. He would later go on to play 11 games in the NHL, helping break barriers and opening the door for Indigenous hockey players. Sasakamoose was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and became a member of the Order of Canada in 2018, and has received commendations from the Hockey Hall of Fame, the Assembly of First Nations, and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. He served as chief and spent 30 years as a band councillor for the Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation, and served as an Elder who taught youth to hunt, fish and trap, and counselled about drug and alcohol addiction. At the age of six, Sasakamoose was one of the 359 children from the reserve taken from their parents and sent to residential schools. He recently testified for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada about the abuse that he suffered there. One escape for Sasakamoose was hockey, with skills that would take him all the way to the NHL.

Named the most valuable player in Western Canada while playing in Moose Jaw in 1954, Sasakamoose signed his first NHL contract with the Chicago Blackhawks—for the modest sum of $6,000—and was called up for his NHL debut on Feb. 27, 1954 on Hockey Night in Canada at Maple Leaf Gardens, after a two-day train ride to Toronto. Sasakamoose would go on to play six seasons of professional hockey, but longed to return home to his family and retired in 1960 and became a community leader for Ahtahkakoop. A passionate advocate for creating opportunities for Indigenous youth to play sports, Sasakamoose spent 60 years establishing hockey programs, leagues and camps. He joined the USask community as an honoured guest at the groundbreaking ceremony for Merlis Belsher Place, where he provided a blessing for the arena and an inspirational message that generations to come will benefit from the facility. In 2018, Sasakamoose was recognized by the College of Kinesiology as one of nine Indigenous athletes inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame who were honoured in an interactive display in the Physical Activity Complex. She was a founding member of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport which aspires to enhance the presence of girls and women at all levels and in all areas of sport – as athletes, participants, leaders, officials, coaches and trainers. Pat earned inductions into the University of Saskatchewan Athletic Wall of Fame, the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame and the Saskatchewan Sports

Fred Sasakamoose stands in front of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Athletes display located on the 2nd floor in the Physical Activity Complex.




College of Kinesiology



College of Kinesiology



Her new study brings together both recreational and professional dancers over age 18 from the Saskatoon area to perform traditional Métis square dances—ranging from the slow Snake in the Grass, to the medium-paced Lady Round Lady, to the faster Old Wagon Wheel, followed by social dances such as the Schottische, and ending with the up-tempo Orange Blossom Special that allows dancers to showcase their speed, agility and fitness. The team will: - Assess cardiovascular fitness demands, physical activity (step count), and mental wellness benefits

Aerobic exercise intensity of the 12 dances chosen for study will be tested by measuring step counts and heart rates of the dancers at community “kitchen dances” and at professional performances. Interviews with all dancers, based on standardized questionnaires, will be used to assess mental health benefits.

Both recreational and professional dancers will undergo a comprehensive assessment pre- and post-program, including physical and psychological evaluations, as well as their social supports and cultural connectedness.

- Evaluate participation and its meaningfulness to health - Assess the effectiveness in improving CVD risk factors and perceived health to the individual, family and community.

USask researcher and Métis partners collaborate to jig away cardiac woes

Improvement in CVD risk factors, both for recreational dancers and professional ones, will be assessed through three-month dance programs that will take place in the local Métis community and at the College of Kinesiology. Recreational dancers, recruited through the project’s community partner, Li Toneur Niimiyitookh Métis Dance Group, will be assessed with standardized fitness tests before they begin three months of dance lessons, and upon completion of the course. There will be multiple rounds of the three-month courses, with different amateur participants over the five years.


SASKATOON – In a first-of-its-kind Canadian study, University of Saskatchewan (USask) researcher Heather Foulds will assess the physical, mental, cultural, and social benefits that result from performing traditional Métis social dances—something she says can narrow the health gap between Métis and nonIndigenous people. “Assessing the value of cultural-based programs to improving health is timely, given growing Métis population and the formidable health disparities,” said Foulds, a kinesiology assistant professor who holds the Indigenous Early Career Women’s Heart and Brain Chair. “Métis dancing is a culturally safe, Indigenous-led initiative that includes storytelling, spirituality, and community awareness. It can buffer the effects of colonization that have eroded Métis identity as a distinct nation in Canada with a unique history, culture and language.”

can rack up 10,000 steps in a 30-minute class—has no doubt about the cardiovascular benefits.

The professional dancers who participate are members of the other community partner in the study, Qu’Appelle Valley Dancers.

To assess the prevalence of Métis dancing today compared to the past and learn if there’s a resurgence in dance, interviews will be undertaken with 16 key Métis community members, Elders and knowledge keepers, along with in-depth reviews of literature and archival sources. This research will provide details about the story and symbolism of each dance, and the health importance of dancing.

“This intervention tailored to Métis culture and ways of knowing will honour the emergence of Métis worldview, language and culture, and support a practice of reconciliation in research,” said Foulds.

Co-applicants on the project are: Métis dance instructor Wilfred Burton; School of Rehabilitation Science associate professor Sarah Oosman; and kinesiology researchers Leah Ferguson, Phil Chilibeck, and Carol Rodgers.

Funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the five-year, $1.07-million project takes a wholistic perspective on the contribution of Métis dancing to health and well-being by looking beyond the aerobic exercise benefits that help reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. “Dancing also engages cognition, control of body movements, and feelings of social inclusion and engagement—fundamental factors that contribute to better mental health and well-being,” she said. About one-third of the CIHR award will be spent on hiring and training three graduate students and two post-doctoral fellows. Foulds plans to begin the project when she returns to work from maternity leave in May, providing that the pandemic has waned. The project builds on a three-year study that Foulds began last year on the exercise intensity and training effectiveness of the Red River Jig.

Anyone who has seen the vigorous and up-tempo footwork involved in performing the Red River Jig and Orange Blossom Special—dancers




College of Kinesiology



College of Kinesiology



Participants were required to do a brief warm-up on a stationary bike. (Photo: John Ko)

“This is important when fitness centres open up during COVID-19 since respiratory droplets may be propelled further with heavy breathing during vigorous exercise and because of reports of COVID-19 clusters in crowded enclosed exercise facilities.” A new USask study has found that face masks do not hinder breathing for healthy individuals during exercise. (Photo: John Ko)

USask researchers find face masks don't hinder breathing during exercise CHRIS MORIN, AND USASK RESEARCH PROFILE AND IMPACT




A new University of Saskatchewan (USask) study has found that exercise performance and blood and muscle oxygen levels are not affected for healthy individuals wearing a face mask during strenuous workouts. Questions have been raised as to whether mask wearing during vigorous exercise might compromise oxygen uptake or increase the rebreathing of carbon dioxide, leading to a condition (hypercapnic hypoxia) whereby increased carbon dioxide displaces oxygen in the blood. But the study, published Nov. 3 in the research journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, did not find evidence to support these concerns. “Our findings are of importance because they indicate that people can wear face masks during intense exercise with no detrimental effects on performance and minimal impact on blood and muscle oxygenation,” the researchers state.

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the participants’ blood oxygen levels and muscle oxygen levels throughout the test using non-invasive measurement tools. Chilibeck notes the study is timely, as Saskatchewan has recently issued new public health orders that go into effect this week making masks mandatory in indoor public spaces in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The study evaluated use of a three-layer cloth face mask—the type recommended recently by Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer. “Results using a single-layer cloth mask may differ,” the researchers note.

While the new provincial mask rules state that persons working out in a gym, ice rink or other recreational space are exempt, Chilibeck recommends that people wear masks in these facilities to keep safe, especially in these areas where people may be breathing harder due to vigorous exercise.

The study, involving 14 physically active and healthy men and women, controlled for the effects of diet, previous physical activity, and sleep during the 24 hours prior to the test. “If people wear face masks during indoor exercise, it might make the sessions safer and allow gyms to stay open during COVID,” said Dr. Phil Chilibeck (PhD), a professor in the USask College of Kinesiology, who was a co-author of the study. “It might also allow sports to continue, including hockey, where transmission of COVID-19 appears to be high.”

The USask research team also included kinesiology alumni Keely Shaw and John Ko, Dr. Scotty Butcher (PhD) from the School of Rehabilitation Medicine, and Dr. Gordon Zello (PhD) from the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition.

Participants were required to do a brief warm-up on a stationary bike. The exercise test involved a progressive increase in the intensity on the bike while they maintained a required pedal rate. Once they could not sustain the pedal rate the test was over. “Usually a participant reaches exhaustion on this test in six to 12 minutes depending on their fitness level,” said Chilibeck. The team assessed the participants, who did the test three times each, once wearing a surgical face mask, once wearing a cloth face mask and once with no face mask. The team recorded



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Safely offering

recreation on campus

hour of fitness access per day and must register to secure their spot online. Fitness machines and weights will also be limited to accommodate physical distancing protocols, while access to locker rooms, water fountains, towel service, and equipment rentals remain unavailable

For those who are not comfortable coming back to campus for recreation, all members will be able to access online virtual fitness classes this fall. A daily schedule will be posted online, and members will be able to log into their accounts and register for each virtual fitness class, granting them access to a video link to take part.

"While providing in-person recreation is still very much at the heart of our recreation programming, USask Rec understands that virtual programming has also become an important avenue to reach our wide range of participants,” said Paul Rogal, director of USask Rec. “With many of our students not on campus, or even in the city, this new type of programming will become an integral part of what we do. While challenging to initiate, we are excited about the possibilities available through virtual programming.”


Recreation on campus has always been a positive component of the student experience at the University of Saskatchewan (USask). Whether students are staying active in the Fit Centre, participating in Campus Rec activities, or taking advantage of lane swims in the pools, recreation has many positive benefits for our overall well-being. In March, like most of campus, USask Rec was required to close the doors to the Physical Activity Complex (PAC) due to the global pandemic. The COVID-19 closures left many on and off campus community members without their regular facilities to remain physically active, with USask Rec offering home workout tips and regimens to help members remain active. “At the onset of COVID-19, it was extremely challenging having our fitness opportunities taken away from us, whether the biggest loss was losing our workout buddy, fitness facility or just our regular routine, it created change,” said Gray Ferguson, fitness coordinator. “We wanted to provide some specific exercise routines for our community to give some fresh exercise ideas and establish a new at-home routine so our patrons could still receive the same mental and physical benefits as working out at a fitness facility. We made the programs with minimal equipment or explained




how to adapt regular household items to get a similar workout as being in the gym.” As the pandemic continued, the university made the decision to deliver fall and winter programming remotely, with the majority of buildings on campus remaining closed. USask Rec continued to work on plans to offer virtual recreation programming and has now opened in-person outdoor fitness classes and campus recreation sports leagues, incorporating public health guidelines. “Campus recreation programs have always helped create a sense of community and studies have shown it improves student success,” explained Cary Primeau, USask’s campus recreation co-ordinator. “By allowing students the opportunity for physical and mental well-being options, we are able to provide them of a sense of normalcy during a very uncertain time in their academic lives.” The outdoor fitness classes have been well received, and the outdoor intramural leagues filled quickly, but as the days get shorter and temperatures continue to drop, the demand for indoor fitness and recreation has increased. USask Rec was approved to open the Fit Centre and indoor fitness classes in the PAC for USask student access on October 5, with strict COVID-19 precautions in place. There are several reopening protocols in place for individuals accessing the PAC, to ensure health and safety. The capacity is limited to 25 individuals per hour in the Fit Centre, while fitness classes vary between 10-15 people. Students are limited to one College of Kinesiology



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lands with Riders

After making Huskies history, Nelson Lokombo is now focused on his football future in Saskatchewan.

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) kinesiology student and Huskie football All-Canadian was selected second overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the May 4 Canadian Football League (CFL) draft on a night he won’t forget. “It was just very exciting, and definitely a nice night with my family,” said Lokombo, who was named the U Sports defensive player of the year in 2019. “I know fans in Sask are definitely going to be happy with a university kid staying in the province. So I am excited to get going.”


“As the night approached, I had a feeling that (the Roughriders) were interested, so I am glad it worked out,” he said.

Lokombo hopes to play professionally this season, while continuing to work towards his Bachelor of Kinesiology degree in the off-season. Looking back, Lokombo said he is happy that he decided to study at USask and suit up for the Huskies.

Lokombo is one of four Huskies to be selected either first or second overall in the modern history of the CFL draft, joining Ben Heenan (first overall in 2012), Dylan Barker (first overall in 2008) and Dan Farthing (second overall in 1991).

“I am definitely happy with my choice,” said Lokombo. “As a high school player, deciding to come to Saskatchewan for university was definitely a great choice for me and I’m glad that it worked out this way.”

Lokombo was the first of three Huskies drafted this year, along with offensive lineman Connor Berglof, a College of Arts and Science student selected in the third round by the Ottawa Redblacks, and safety Josh Hagerty, an Edwards School of Business student picked in the sixth round by the Toronto Argonauts.

While Lokombo said he would love to sign with Saskatchewan, his agent is also exploring free-agent opportunities for him in the National Football League.

“Often we throw around a lot of superlatives about athletes, like tough, resilient and smart, but that absolutely does describe these guys. Having their 2020 season taken away from them and missing out on an opportunity to really shine has been tough,” Huskies head coach Scott Flory stated. “These guys have fought through, they’ve battled. They are humble, hard-working, low maintenance guys and I’m so proud of how focused they’ve been.” Lokombo, who studied kinesiology remotely in 2020/21 while training at home in Abbotsford, B.C., set a Huskie record in 2019 by racking up 197 return yards on four interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. After the 2020 U Sports football season was cancelled due to the pandemic, Lokombo ran a 4.66 in the 40-yard dash in pre-draft testing this year and quickly began moving up the draft rankings.

“Signing is the next step, but right now I am kind of taking a few weeks off here and I am going to see what my agent says and we will see what the (Roughriders’) contract looks like,” he said.

When the CFL resumes—pandemic permitting—Lokombo is poised to join three other Huskie first-round draft picks with the Roughriders. Lokombo’s teammate Mattland Riley, an offensive lineman, was drafted seventh overall by the Roughriders in 2020 and signed his first contract in January. Meanwhile, the Roughriders also signed free agent former Huskies offensive lineman Evan Johnson in February after playing three seasons with the Redblacks, who drafted him in the first round (ninth overall) in 2017.

Photography: Gord Waldner



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Seniors, patients, astronauts will all benefit from new USask research on bone health SARATH PEIRIS FOR USASK RESEARCH PROFILE AND IMPACT

A University of Saskatchewan (USask) team led by kinesiology professor Saija Kontulainen has been awarded $200,000 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to research whether aerobic and resistance exercises can prevent bone loss associated with fat accumulation in muscles and bone marrow due to inactivity.

“This project is unique because, for the first time, participants are in the 55-to-65 age group while previous bed rest studies involved only young people,” said Kontulainen. “With one-quarter of Canada’s population expected to be seniors by 2035, it’s important to understand mechanisms that cause bone deterioration through aging and inactivity.” Researchers from across Canada will get a unique opportunity to look at new scientific knowledge involving impacts of inactivity on different aspects of human physiology, and then combine data to look at the associations between body systems, she said. The team from McGill University, where the study will take place starting early next year, will lead the data collection and exercise intervention during bed rest for all eight teams.

The findings will help to reduce falls and fractures caused by weakened muscles and bones in older Canadians, aid in the recovery of COVID-19 patients and others confined to prolonged bed rest after injury or surgery, and guide measures to maintain the bone health of astronauts during space flight.

The Canadian Frailty Network and the Canadian Space Agency are partnering with CIHR on the Health Impacts of Inactivity project.

Kontulainen’s study, which focuses on bone and muscle health, is part of a 17-month national project funded by CIHR to understand the health impacts of inactivity. Eight university teams across Canada have each been awarded $200,000 to study the effects of a 14-day bed rest period on the brains and cardiovascular and other physiological systems in a total of 24 volunteers—12 men and 12 women.



Six males and six females will be randomly assigned either to an exercise or control group, each consisting of 12 participants at the McGill University Health Centre. Participants in the exercise group will do daily cycling and resistance training to strengthen muscles in their arms and legs, while the control group will get no exercise.

Researchers will measure bone porosity (tiny holes in the bone), along with muscle and bone marrow fat in the calves, thighs and forearms of all participants, before and after bed rest. Follow-up testing at two weeks and two months after the study will help determine how quickly, or if, the bones and muscles of participants are recovering. Kontulainen’s team is testing two hypotheses. First, that inactivity increases fat accumulation (adiposity) in muscle and marrow, as well as porosity in bone. Second, that exercise intervention will prevent or reduce these negative changes in muscle and bone due to inactivity.

“We know that in terms of musculoskeletal health, inactivity, weightlessness, and lack of loading stimulus (from weight-bearing exercise) lead to bone loss. But we don’t know how bone tissue is altered, the mechanisms underpinning this change, or the mechanisms that exercise can counteract,” she said.

“If we are able to discover that fat accumulation is linked to bone deterioration, we can then target the mechanism that makes bone more fragile with countermeasures like exercise, and test other interventions such as nutritional or pharmacological therapies, or a combination of these.” The USask group is employing advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology to look at both bone marrow and muscle adiposity, and link it to bone porosity. Researchers are also measuring bone structure in very fine detail to see if porosity is increasing, and whether these changes differ between exercise and control groups. What Kontulainen finds particularly exciting the opportunity to test the performance of a portable MRI prototype, which was developed in team member Gordon Sarty’s lab for use on the International Space Station, against the data obtained from top-of-the-line MRIs in use today. “If the portable tool is shown to capture similar changes in muscle and bone, it can be used not only on space missions to the Moon or Mars, but in remote and rural areas in Canada and around the world,” she said.

USASK STUDENT SELECTED FOR PRIME MINISTER'S YOUTH COUNCIL CHRIS MORIN A University of Saskatchewan (USask) student is one of 10 new members of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council, a group that provides advice to the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada on issues of importance to them and to all Canadians. Topaza Yu, a fourth-year student in the College of Kinesiology, received news of the appointment to the council earlier this year after applying last summer.Youth Council members meet both online and in person several times a year to discuss issues that matter to their peers, their community, and their country. Yu, who has already attended an online council meeting, says she is using the opportunity to help advance and highlight the importance of sexual health and reproductive health in Canada. “I want to continue to push for the elimination of the men who have sex with men blood donation ban,” said Yu. “This ban is based on questionable and unsupported science and it perpetuates stigma while limiting the Canadian blood supply. I’m also hoping to advocate for universal contraceptive coverage for youth.

issues while working towards finishing her studies. “I have always been highly interested in pursuing a medical degree or graduate degree after finishing my undergraduate degree in kinesiology,” said Yu Earlier this year, Yu was accepted into the Amgen Canada Scholar Program for the summer in Toronto, ON, an immersive, 10-week program of research experience, professional development, and social activities. In March, Yu received an RBC BreakOUT award from OUTSaskatoon for her volunteer work in the local LGBTQ2 community. She also played a pivotal role in the TakingITGlobal:RisingYouth community grant program that distributed packages containing education-based activity resources for families with school-aged children during the pandemic.

While she has yet to complete her undergraduate degree, Yu has already proven herself as a tireless advocate for health


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RESEARCH STORY Participants also filled out a questionnaire to measure their level of physical activity. The results from each test helped divide the participants into two classifications—those who were more fit and those who weren’t—to provide a more accurate represexntation of the relationship between each participant’s fitness level and their sleep experience.

“All of these things can contribute to a lack of sleep,” said Foulds. However, overall, the study has shown that women who are more physically active and have a higher aerobic fitness level tend to have better sleep. The high aerobic fitness group had a greater mean sleep duration of 7.04 hours compared to the low fit group of 6.61 hours after adjusting for age, Body Mass Index, waist circumference and menstrual status.

Both sleep quantity and quality were evaluated through questionnaires. Sleep quantity was measured by noting the number of hours slept. Sleep quality was measured through the answers the women gave in the questionnaire. The questions surrounded the ability to fall asleep, staying asleep, waking up earlier than intended, and if they felt restful when waking up or if they felt tired or fatigued.

The percentage of high aerobic fitness women who felt rested was calculated at 67 per cent compared to low aerobic fitness women at just 45 per cent.

From thinking about which activities are possible to do safely and won’t put your family’s health at risk to juggling responsibilities between working from home and looking after their children, the pandemic was also relevant to the study

Sleep and fitness go hand-in-hand


Dr. Heather Foulds (PhD) is an assistant professor in USask’s College of Kinesiology who specializes in Indigenous health and cardiovascular health. (Photo: Submitted)

The University of Saskatchewan’s (USask) Dr. Heather Foulds (PhD) and her team of students have conducted a new study which confirms the connection between sleep and physical activity among middleaged women.

Sleep plays an important role in our health. As women enter menopause, which typically happens between the ages of 40 to 50, they could experience a decrease in their sleep quality.

Physical activity has been associated with improved sleep among older people. The purpose of this study was to determine if physical activity and/or physical fitness are associated with sleep quantity and quality in middle-aged women. This study recruited 114 healthy women, aged 3055 from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, from 2015-2019.

The study has shown a significant difference between women with higher aerobic fitness levels getting more sleep each night and feeling more rested.

Participants were classified on their aerobic fitness, grip strength and how physically active they were. The aerobic fitness test was based on walking. Participants were asked to walk as far as they can, as fast as they can in six minutes. Women who were more fit could walk farther and were able to keep a higher speed.

Although this study was conducted prior to the pandemic, Foulds believes this research is still applicable to women experiencing the pandemic.

Next was grip strength to test their musculoskeletal fitness. They had participants hold a device in their hand and squeeze it as tightly as they were able. The device measured how many kilograms each participant was able to squeeze. This was done on both hands to get an overall total for their grip strength.

“There’s more underlying stress and more challenges,” said Foulds, an assistant professor in the College of Kinesiology who specializes in Indigenous health and cardiovascular health, and the Heart & Stroke/ CIHR Indigenous Early Career Women’s Heart and Brain Health Chair at USask.




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SCORES STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING ROLE WITH NATIONAL WOMEN’S HOCKEY TEAM CAMP ALYSSA WIEBE Jason Weber (BSPE’99) will head to Calgary, AB as the lead strength and conditioning coach for the under-18 National Women’s Hockey Team, July 29Aug. 5 at WinSport’s Canada Olympic Park. Forty-six of the country’s top women’s under-18 players have earned invites to the BFL National Women’s Under-18 Team Summer Development Camp as a chance to sharpen their skills before heading back to their collegiate and club teams for the 2021-2022 season. This year’s camp holds a lot of meaning for the coaches, staff, and players as their seasons were disrupted by the global pandemic last year.

"It is such an awesome experience to see the girls experience their 1st National Team Camp, the excitement of wearing the maple leaf on their jersey. - JASON WEBER, HPC COORDINATOR

“After a year of cancellations, virtual calls, and online everything I am extremely excited to be reunited with this amazing staff and a chance to work with the top U18 females in the country,” said Weber. Weber is the only Saskatchewan staff member represented on the roster. He is joined by a lone Saskatchewan player, Ava Metzger, from Moosomin, SK.



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Colette Bourgonje (BSPE'84)

inducted into the Saskatchewan Sport Hall of Fame LUCAS PUNKARI | PRINCE ALBERT DAILY HERALD

In an athletic career where she’s accomplished so much, Colette Bourgonje’s recent enshrinement into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame is something that the Paralympian truly cherishes. Bourgonje, who is originally from Porcupine Plain and now lives outside of Prince Albert, was part of the 2021 induction class, which was officially announced on Thursday.

“To be acknowledged by your home province is definitely a honour,” Bourgonje said.

“It’s really cool to be going into the Hall of Fame with people that I know as well. I played hockey with Shannon Miller back in the day and I got the chance to meet Lyndon Rush after the 2020 winter games, so it’s really fun to be in the same class as them.”

Bourgonje was a cross-country runner in high school and competed at a national level before a serious car accident in 1980 left her a paraplegic.

She would then move into wheelchair racing before eventually taking up cross-country skiing.




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“As I was trying to figure out what I was going to do to fill that missing void, I really didn’t know what sports were out there,” Bourgonje said. “Having been a runner, I thought wheelchair racing would be the sport for me, but at the end of the day, cross-country skiing is where it’s at as it’s a sport you can do at any point in your life. “Sometimes I think it’s a trial and error process as you try to find a sport you can connect with, no matter what your background might be.” Bourgonje is one of only five athletes to win a medal at both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. She won two bronze medals each at the 1992 and 1996 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona and Atlanta, earned two silver medals at the 1998 Winter Paralympics in Nagano, captured two bronze medals at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Torino and followed that up with a silver and a bronze medal at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver. “I think there are so many things that sport can bring to athletes, as you get to go all over the world, meet new people and make friends that are all over the country and around the world,” Bourgonje said. “You also learn a lot of values, such as being resilient as you can use those lessons towards different things that happen in your life so that you can keep moving forward,” A 2019 inductee into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Bourgonje is now a coach and mentor for other athletes, such as Prince Albert’s Brittany Hudak. “I’m currently working with four different athletes on a regular basis,” Bourgonje said.



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