The PROFile

Dr. Rob Pryce

(Left to Right) paramedic Neil McDonald, student Florent Thezard, Dr. Rob Pryce.

Supplied photo

Assistant professor, GUPTA Faculty of Kinesiology and Applied Health


Had you asked Rob Pryce nearly a decade ago what he planned to research while he was studying for his athletic therapy certification at the University of Winnipeg (U of W), he probably wouldn’t have said ambulance safety. 

The 35-year-old kinesiology professor from Dauphin earned his undergrad at the U of W and masters and PhD degrees from the University of Manitoba before accepting a faculty position at the former university four years ago. 

Pryce shifted his focus from obesity biomechanics to what could be a groundbreaking study of how patients with neck and back injuries are handled in ambulances. 

Pryce and his team, which includes research assistant Flo Thezard and paramedic Neil McDonald, are looking to find the best practices for spinal immobilization. They test theories by taking strapped-in volunteers on bumpy, swerving ambulance rides in parking lots and pot-hole-laden streets in the North End. 

Some of the volunteers signed up because they had bad experiences being in ambulances, Pryce says. 

“They’ve said, ‘you know, I’ve been in the back of an ambulance, loved the care I got, but holy mackerel! (It’s) not exactly the most comfortable experience,’” he says. 

The Manitoba Medical Service Foundation donated $11,000 for the study, which will wrap up in the next few weeks. 

Pryce is also teaching biomechanics and pathology in sports medicine this semester. 

He says the faculty of kinesiology has many exciting projects in the works and young, motivated staff ready to tackle them. 

“We’re definitely a new faculty and then we’re also all quite young. So a bunch of us are in the starting stages of developing a research career or a research program. So we probably depend as much on internal funding as we do external,” he says.


AGE: 35. 

AREA OF RESEARCH: Clinical biomechanics. 


LOWEST GRADE IN UNIVERSITY: How about I’ll pretend that I can’t remember? But my first couple years definitely had some ups and downs to it. How’s that? 

FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF: I don’t know, I don’t really think about that too much. I have no idea. 

WHAT’S YOUR SUPERPOWER: We’ll go with evidence-based practice. Our students will maybe like that. It should be a super power everybody has. 

WORST TEACHING MOMENT: It was when I was doing my first little presentation to a group of, luckily, high school football athletes and it turns out I did the whole thing with my fly down. So that has forever made me paranoid. 

FAVOURITE TAYLOR SWIFT SONG: Holy mackerel, I can’t say I have one. I’ll listen to anything by Corb Lund band. I’ll take them over Taylor Swift. 

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: The last one that stuck with me was The Martian (by Andy Weir).

Published in Volume 70, Number 9 of The Uniter (November 5, 2015)

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