Our Team

The Sanford Sports Science Institute focuses on new research to address training, competition and rehabilitation challenges for youth, intercollegiate, professional and recreational athletes.

Verle Valentine, MD, FACSM

Co-Medical Director

Dr. Valentine is the Co-Medical Director for the Sanford Sports Science Institute and Assistant Professor at the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota. Dr. Valentine has a profound interest in health, wellness, and injury prevention. His extensive background is supported by his teaching, research, publications, and ongoing medical practice. He also serves as the Director of the Sports Concussion Program at Sanford Health, and the Assistant Medical Director for the Sanford Sports Medicine Outreach programs. His training includes a residency in Family Medicine and fellowship in Sports Medicine, as well as a master's degree in Exercise Physiology. Dr. Valentine has a special interest in child and adolescent athletic injuries, running injuries, and sports-related concussions. He is also an expert in the treatment of athletic and activity-type injuries. He has served as a team physician in many capacities including the WNBA, NBA, LPGA, and multiple DI universities. Currently, Dr. Valentine is a team physician for South Dakota State University, Sioux Falls Skyforce and Brandon Valley High School. He also maintains a clinical practice as a Sports Medicine Physician with Sanford Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Learn about Dr. Valentine here.

Ben Noonan, MD

Co-Medical Director

Dr. Noonan is the Co-Medical Director for the Sanford Sports Science Institute and an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine with an extensive background in biomechanics and human performance. His focus areas in orthopedic surgery include arthroscopic and open hip, knee and shoulder surgery. Dr. Noonan's training includes a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University and a master's degree in exercise science and biomechanics from St Cloud State University where he served as the strength and conditioning coach for the men's hockey team. He obtained his MD and completed a residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Yale University and went on to complete a fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the University of Michigan where he was a member of the football medical staff. Dr. Noonan has a special passion for ice hockey which was fostered during his youth hockey coaching experience in his hometown of Moorhead, MN. He has published scientific and clinical articles related to ice hockey metabolism and thermoregulation, and he is currently working on several performance and biomechanical projects related to hockey. Dr. Noonan serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and is a certified member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS), as well as a member of the American College of Sports Medicine. He currently serves as the team physician for the Moorhead High football and hockey teams, as well as the Fargo Force.

Thayne Munce, PhD, FACSM

Director of Research & Development

Dr. Munce is the Director of Research & Development for the Sanford Sports Science Institute and an Associate Scientist in the Children’s Health Research Center at Sanford Research. He also has appointments as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and as a Research Scientist with the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Memorial Hospital. Dr. Munce is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (FACSM) and serves on the Leadership Board of the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute (NYSHSI). Dr. Munce has expertise in the areas of applied exercise physiology, applied biomechanics, and human thermoregulation. His research spans several areas of athletic health and performance with the intent of translating evidence-based knowledge into practical applications on the playing field and in the clinic. Much of Dr. Munce’s current research is focused on the study of head impact exposure and brain health in youth football players. This work has been published and presented in leading scientific journals and international sports medicine meetings. Dr. Munce is also leading a comprehensive effort to develop quantitative assessments of athletic readiness that can be used to evaluate athleticism and injury risk in sports participants. This work provides the scientific basis for the Sanford SCORE athletic assessment program. Finally, Dr. Munce has successfully helped many youth, collegiate and professional athletes optimize their performance and reduce their risk of injury through individualized athletic assessments and performance consultations.

Jason C. Dorman, MS, CSCS

Operations Manager

Jason is the Operations Manager for the Sanford Sports Science Institute. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from South Dakota State University (SDSU) and his master's degree in kinesiology with a primary emphasis in exercise physiology and secondary emphasis in biomechanics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). During his time at UWM, Jason worked as a research assistant in the Human Performance Laboratory, primarily conducting research and performing exercise tests on collegiate and Olympic level athletes. Jason completed a sport science internship at the US Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY and also a one-year work experience position (Post-Graduate Scholar) in the exercise physiology department at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, Australia. Jason has tested and advised myriad high school, collegiate and professional athletes in numerous sports, including gold medal and world record-breaking Olympic athletes. Jason is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and is currently a member of the SDSU athletes's performance safeguards task force.

Melissa A. Moyer PT, DPT, ATC

Clinical Biomechanist

Melissa is the Clinical Biomechanist for the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Sioux Falls, SD and the Lead Physical Therapist specializing in sports rehabilitation located at the Sanford Fieldhouse. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Athletic Training from South Dakota State University, followed by earning her Doctor of Physical Therapy at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA. During her time at St. Ambrose University, Melissa extended her clinical and practical expertise in athletic training as the Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer for the Football and Women’s Volleyball teams. Melissa then completed an orthopedic residency program affiliated with St. Ambrose University and Rock Valley Physical Therapy where she was closely and expertly mentored by several accomplished Fellows of Manual Physical Therapy.

Melissa enjoys sharing her professional expertise as a speaker and through mentoring students of sports medicine and related fields. She also plays key roles in clinically relevant research and oversees and performs healthy athlete movement assessments with high school, college and professional athletes. Melissa specializes in the evaluation and treatment of running-related injuries and the safe return of athletes to sports following ACL reconstruction. Melissa also enjoys being active, running and spending time with her family.

Zadok J.K. Isaacs, MS

Clinical Biomechanist

Zadok is the Clinical Biomechanist for the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Sioux Falls, SD. He obtained a BSc in Leisure Studies: Sports Medicine supplemented with a minor in Physics from Howard University. This was followed by a master’s degree in Kinesiology: Biomechanics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). As an undergrad, Zadok competed collegiately in the sport of swimming whilst completing his studies. While at UIUC, Zadok completed graduate research in neuromuscular disabilities, specifically Multiple Sclerosis, performing gait and balance assessments and carrying out rehabilitation programs geared towards improving quality of life in its target populations. Zadok has also completed a sports performance externship at the Michael Johnson Performance Center in McKinney, TX, and spent time teaching and coaching swimming. Through these experiences, Zadok has gained expertise in working with athletes ranging from middle school to the professional level in multiple sports, including current Olympians. Zadok is a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).

Colin Bond, MS

Clinical Biomechanist

Colin is the Clinical Biomechanist for the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Fargo, ND. He obtained a B.S. in Kinesiology – Exercise Science from Towson University in Towson, MD while competing as a distance swimmer on the school’s NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving team. Following Towson, he obtained a M.S. in Kinesiology- Exercise Science from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham, NH. While attending UNH, Colin completed graduate research examining lower-extremity strength and neural activation asymmetry in adults as well as coached youth club and high school swimmers. Colin is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Elizabeth Kuckuk, MS

Nutritionist

Elizabeth Kuckuk is the Nutritionist for the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Sioux Falls, SD. She holds a BA in Russian and a BS in Dietetics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Following her undergraduate studies, she gained experience in the field of nutrition through completing her dietetic internship and MS in Nutrition with an emphasis in Physical Performance at Saint Louis University. While at Saint Louis University, she conducted a graduate research study on endurance athletes and her coursework focused on nutrition, health promotion, disease prevention, physiology and cardiovascular fitness. Elizabeth enjoys helping athletes of all ages and abilities take a real foods approach to improving overall health and achieve optimal athletic performance. Elizabeth is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), Sports Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition (SCAN) dietetics practice group, and the Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA).

Jennifer Dalland, MA, ATC

Biomechanics Technician

Jennifer is the Biomechanics Technician for the Sanford Sports Science Institute in Sioux Falls, SD. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training and Exercise Science from Minnesota State University Moorhead, followed by a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the College of St. Scholastica. Jennifer has experience working as an Athletic Trainer in both the clinic and collegiate settings, helping athletes of all ages and athletic abilities. Jennifer works closely with the Power Physical Therapy and the Sports Science Institute teams to preform comprehensive biomechanical evaluations for our athletes. These assessments include video running analysis, return to play assessments, and the Score Pro movement assessments. She enjoys working with all athletes of all ages, helping them to achieve their goals to improve performance and athletic health.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us at (605) 312-7870.