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New Briarwood Director of Sports Science and Performance

Briarwood Christian Athletics & ATI Physical Therapy are pleased to announce Kyle Southall as Briarwood’s Director of Sports Science and Performance.

This is a partnership that will use qualified professionals, research, technology, and resources to build a comprehensive, school-based approach to physical education, health education, strength/conditioning programs, athletic evaluation, and treatment to the BCS athletic department with an emphasis on the prevention of injuries.

Kyle Southall, PhD(c), LAT, ATC, PES, CSCS has a unique background in athletic training, research, and clinical experience. He is the current president of the Alabama Athletic Trainer’s Association and has been the Briarwood athletic trainer since August 2020. Briarwood will expand his role according to his unique skill set to better serve all BCS athletes throughout the school. Kyle has taught kinesiology at Samford and Birmingham Southern and serves as the sports medicine provider for Team USA Wrestling. He has submitted and published many accepted and peer-reviewed articles in industry journals. He is loved by BCS coaches, students, and families already in his time at Briarwood.

Kyle has a broad background and clinical experience with the tools that Briarwood Christian has already been using in the area of athletic monitoring and development. Two of these specifically are the ‘TeamBuildr” App, used by coaches to individually apply specific workouts to athletes on their mobile devices including the auxiliary exercises that have been prescribed based on functional deficiencies, as well as the “PlayerTek by Catapult” GPS performance trackers that capture real-time data in practice and competition. This allows Kyle to provide our coaches with immediate information on player load and performance.

Developing a Scope and Sequence to Athletic Development, Performance, and Health

Briarwood Christian School is unique in that it competes in the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) in a classification system that uses a 1.3 multiplier to private school enrollment. If a sport has two consecutive seasons of unprecedented success in competition, the AHSAA will also add a ‘Competitive Balance’ formula which could push BCS athletes to the next level of classification.

These factors result in the school currently competing in Class 6A for all sports though the actual enrollment of BCS is much lower than schools in its current area alignment (including well-respected programs such as Homewood, Mountain Brook, and Chelsea High Schools).

Limited numbers and competitive demands require adaptations and improvements that still remain faithful to and enhance the school’s mission to educate and disciple students in the Christian world and life view.

These adaptations include the need for Briarwood to remain a ‘multiple sport athlete’ school as much as possible and maximize the development of athletes while keeping long-term health and fitness as the ultimate goal of physical development.

Briarwood Christian believes the best way to do this is to start young, teach well, coordinate well, and evaluate progress through research and reliable testing.

Kyle will work with all of the key personnel to implement and monitor the following areas:

Universal Movement Patterns: This is a system-wide, universal movement pattern program in elementary, middle, and high schools that uses specific movements to test, teach, and develop athletes. All of our athletic teams and  PE classes will utilize this movement pattern system in an age-appropriate way. These movement patterns will be the basis of our dynamic warm-up before practice as well as the primary tool to diagnose potential problems that may be pre-existent in the athlete.

Functional Testing: Kyle will coordinate with BCS strength coaches to develop functional tests for proper weight room placement and exercises. It is our desire that no athlete will perform a load-bearing, Olympic-style lift before they pass a functional test and get proper training on the techniques. These tests will also enhance the decision to return to normal lifting after an injury.

Strength and Conditioning Programs: Kyle will coordinate with BCS strength coaches to monitor and develop research-based cycles and programs to best enhance both male and female athletes.

Education in Nutrition, Hydration, Rest, and Flexibility: Kyle will coordinate with BCS health and PE teachers to develop the core concepts needed to be taught to students to embrace a lifestyle of healthy eating and proper care of the body.

Care of “Throwing” Athletes and Sport Specific Needs:  Kyle will also work with BCS coaches who work with throwing athletes (pitchers, baseball players, softball players, quarterbacks, javelin, shot, and discus) to keep ‘arm care’ as a high priority of development and conditioning. Also, Kyle will ensure that workouts maximize all unique sports needs.

Long-term Health and Fitness: While the short term goal is to minimize time-loss injuries and maximize competitive performance, the ultimate goal of this program is to introduce, educate, and inspire BCS students to adopt a lifestyle of health and fitness which glorifies God in the teaching of our body as the temple of God’s Spirit even when the years of competitive athletics come to an end.

Research Opportunities: Kyle is especially interested in continuing his robust teaching and research schedule. His schedule will allow him to perform research at UAB that is not feasible at Briarwood and to continue consulting and working/traveling with USA Wrestling and Team USA Sports Medicine. 

He is planning to teach stand-alone units in science and health classes with content related to movement science, health and wellbeing, first aid/CPR, sports analytics, and evidence-based practice/objective decision making.

Accountability and Evaluation: 

Kyle will meet with the BCS A.D. to give reports in the following areas: 
1. Performance evaluation of the program and director
2. Updated goals of the program
3. Needs to meet goals
4. Budget/resources required vs available to these updated goals

Kyle will also still be employed as an ATC by ATI.

Developing a Model for All Schools

In a period of 3-5 years, Briarwood and ATI hope to showcase a model school-based program for other school systems to investigate and adopt. We believe that this effort will provide information and practices to help school-aged athletes and athletic programs develop and remain as healthy as possible in the rigors of competition.

Statements by partners:

From ATI: “Kyle has been a home run addition to our ATI Sports Medicine Team. Kyle has worked as an AT at several levels, and it doesn't take long to realize the vast experience and knowledge. He uses this to provide the best experience for his athletes, parents, and coaches at Briarwood. I am confident there will be a positive impact from this performance program he is implementing at Briarwood.”

From TeamBuildr: "TeamBuildr is proud to work with Briarwood and Kyle Southall as he retains industry-standard certifications and qualifications, and represents the ideal sports performance professional that TeamBuildr aims to work with."

From Catapult: “This is very exciting news! Working with over 3200 teams in 40 sports in 139 countries, Catapult engineers the most advanced technology in sport to help mitigate injury, prepare for competition, and improve individual and team performance for all levels of play.” 

Jay Mathews, BCS AD:
Kyle Southall, Director of Sports Science and Performance:

Congratulations also go out to Kyle for being named the ‘Chris King Trainer of the Year’ for the State of  Alabama. 

BCS Coaches, PE teachers, and Health Teachers will work in a collaborative partnership with Kyle as we seek to implement a coordinated program of age-appropriate exercises and education that is based on the best practices and research available. These coaches and teachers will also provide valuable information for research on athletic development for school-age athletes where there is not a lot of research and information.

Andrews Sports Medicine has been the primary medical advisor for BCS athletics and they will continue their role in the prevention and treatment of athletic injuries.

Briarwood Christian Athletic Administration will be an active partner in this process realizing that it will take time and resources to adequately support this initiative. Plans are underway to enhance the BCS training room with additional capacity and equipment.