Dan Cobian, DPT, PhD, is a faculty associate in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and a research scientist with Badger Athletic Performance and the Neuromuscular Biomechanics Lab. Prior to joining the faculty at UW-Madison, he received a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from The University of Iowa (2015), and completed a postdoc position in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at UW-Madison (2016).

Dan Cobian

The focus of Cobian’s thesis work was lower extremity power and rapid force development after knee injury, surgery, and rehabilitation. The objectives of his current research are to better understand the neuromuscular implications of musculoskeletal trauma, characterize the effects of injury on movement biomechanics, sports performance and function, and determine how to best prescribe and dose rehabilitation interventions to facilitate improved outcomes and long term quality of life.

Cobian was a graduate of the inaugural Doctor of Physical Therapy class at UW-Madison in 2010 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2006. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (2006).

His current teaching responsibilities include Tissue Mechanics and Adaptations (PT 627), Neuromuscular Mechanics and Control (PT 628), Foundations of Physical Therapy Intervention (PT 534), and Orthotics: Applications in Physical Therapy Practice (PT 675).

Cobian is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (Sports, Orthopaedic, and Research sections), the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine. He practices physical therapy in Sports Rehabilitation for UW Health at The American Center. His clinical specialties include lower extremity musculoskeletal trauma, with an emphasis on knee joint injury and surgery.

Current research

Kinetic analysis of countermovement jump performance in Division I collegiate athletes

Countermovement jump performance is an important indicator of lower extremity explosiveness and can differentiate elite athletes from their novice counterparts. The objectives of this project are to:

  1. comprehensively define phase specific force-time variables, and determine which variables are significant predictors of jump height in collegiate athletes
  2. evaluate changes in jump performance throughout the collegiate career of individual athletes
  3. determine the influence of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on jump performance in collegiate athletes.

Movement biomechanics, neuromuscular performance and functional recovery after ACL reconstruction

Abnormal lower extremity movement biomechanics and neuromuscular performance are a barrier to successful return to sport in people post-anterior cruciate ligament injury and reconstruction (ACLR). The objectives of this ongoing investigation are to:

  1. evaluate knee, hip, and ankle joint kinetics and kinematics during running and jumping in elite collegiate athletes throughout recovery post-ACLR
  2. assess leg muscle activation patterns during running and jumping in collegiate athletes post-ACLR
  3. compare movement biomechanics and muscle activation between post-ACLR athletes and control subjects matched by gender, sport, and position.

Validity and reliability of a novel hamstring muscle endurance test

Hamstring strain injury is a common musculoskeletal trauma associated with sprinting activities, resulting in significant health care costs and reduced sports performance. We have developed a novel and efficient method for assessing unilateral hamstring muscle endurance. The goal of this project is to assess the validity and reliability of the novel endurance test.