NCCSIR’s long history dates back to 1965 when the American Football Coaches Association funded Dr. Carl Blyth at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to continue its research on football-related fatalities. In 1977, data collection was expanded to non-fatal football injuries. Due to the success of these programs, a national center was created in 1982 to expand data collection to all sports under the direction of Frederick O. Mueller, PhD. Dr. Mueller and Dr. Robert Cantu (Medical Director) have led the NCCSIR for the past 30 years and have written the annual reports on catastrophic sports injuries and illnesses which have helped various sporting organizations develop health and safety policies. Traditionally, NCCSIR has tracked injuries through newspaper clipping services and internet based search engines. The NCCSIR is supported by annual contributions from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the National Federation of State High Schools, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), and UNC Department of Exercise and Sport Science (EXSS). Dr. Mueller retired in 2013 and the NCCSIR has expanded to include a research Consortium and is now directed by Dr. Kristen Kucera.
The NCCSIR was founded and directed by Dr. Frederick Mueller from 1982 to 2013. Originally from New Jersey, Dr. Muller first enrolled as a freshman at UNC-CH in the fall of 1956. He completed his AB in Education in 1961, a M.Ed. in Education in 1964, and a Ph.D. in Education in 1970. All three degrees are from UNC-CH. Appointed as an assistant professor in the UNC-CH Department of Physical Education in 1970, he served as an assistant football coach, head lacrosse coach, director of the freshman activities program, director the undergraduate physical education majors program, and chair of the Department of Exercise & Sport Science (EXSS). Currently Dr. Mueller is an emeritus professor in the EXSS department and serves as Research Director for the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE).
Fred Mueller’s research interest is in the area of the epidemiology of athletic injuries. Dr. Mueller’s work over the past 30 years has improved the safety of sports for the participants and these impacts are demonstrated in the annual NCCSIR reports and publications. Under his leadership, data from the NCCSIR has contributed to rule changes for football, pole vault and swimming & diving. He was recently honored with 2016 Korey Stringer Institute Lifesaving Research Award for his work in reducing catastrophic injuries in high school and college sports. To read more about the impacts of Dr. Mueller’s work: See Dr. Fred Mueller’s impact on the sports community.