Advancing Athletic Performance Assistance

By NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory is committed to student-athlete's performance, safety, and long-term health and well-being. The NAPL is continuously pursuing research for various ways to expand understanding of performance, safety, brain function and long-term heal and well-being that benefits members of society.


Mark and Debra Classen Cardio Area

Mark has worked in the crop insurance business for 35 years. He currently serves as Senior Vice President for Rain and Hail LLC in Minneapolis, Minn. He introduced his wife, Debra, to Nebraska football when they met in 1988 and she has been a fan ever since. Their support of all Nebraska Athletics has become a family passion shared with their two sons, Eric and Brett. The Classen family believes their education at UNL greatly enhanced their lives and professional careers and are honored to be a part of the Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory with the “Mark and Debra Classen Cardio Area”, which addresses cardiovascular health and fitness of student-athletes through research and performance assessments. The Classens hope their contribution will further the tradition of excellence at the University of Nebraska and improve the experience of all student-athletes who make them proud to be Nebraska fans.


James and Karen Linder Dynamic Performance Center

The Linders, James and his wife Karen, are founders and managing directors of Linseed Capital, LLC, which invests in early stage companies. Dr. James Linder serves as the Interim President of the University of Nebraska and President of the University Technology Development Corporation. He is also Professor of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), serving on faculty since 1983. He earned his B.S. in Biochemistry and Microbiology from Iowa State University, and his M.D, from UNMC. Karen is Owner and President of Linspiration, Inc. She earned her B.S. degree in Biology from Nebraska Wesleyan University. In 1995, she founded the School of Cytotechnology at UNMC and is Past President of the American Society for Cytotechnology. Her book, "The Women of Berkshire Hathaway”, was published in 2012. The James and Karen Linder Dynamic Performance Center uses cutting-edge technology to evaluate athletic movement patterns to enhance performance and prevent injury.


Markin Family Collaborative Center

Rodney S. Markin is a Professor of Pathology and Microbiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He has served as a Director in the Clinical Laboratories, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chairman, President and CEO of UNMC Physicians, Interim Dean of the College of Medicine and Associate Vice Chancellor for Business Development and Chief Technology Officer for the campus at UNMC.  He has received degrees at Nebraska Wesleyan University, UNL and UNMC. Nicholas W. Markin is a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesiology in the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He has received degrees at Nebraska Wesleyan and UNMC. Christopher I. Markin is a faculty member in the School of Photography in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Illinois-Chicago and The University of Nebraska.

The Markin Family Collaborative Center draws together researchers, industry partners and students to address safety, performance, health and long-term well-being issues of student-athletes and society in a collaborative environment.


Thayer Family Athletic Research Lab

Ernie and Jan Thayer both graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as did their three sons and two daughters-in-law, David, Dan and Lisa, D.J. and Janet. Dan, played football at Nebraska and lettered in 1985 and 1986. The Thayers made Grand Island their home because they believe Nebraska is the best place to strengthen their values of faith, family, and friends. Ernie served in the U.S. Army and began a career in banking in 1960. Ernie headed numerous agribusiness, banking, and civic organizations and was chairman of the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Jan was CEO of Excel Group, and a developer of retirement facilities and housing units in several states. She owned Riverside Lodge Retirement Community and was a member of multiple state and national boards, including the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the American Health Care Association. In 2005, she was inducted into the Nebraska Business Hall of Fame. Jan died in May of 2014 after a two-year battle with cancer. The Thayer Family Athletic Research Lab is a state-of-the-art Biosafety Level-2 Laboratory, which assesses salivary and blood biomarkers to guide student-athlete performance programs and injury recovery efforts.

Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation

The Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation made a significant contribution to the advancement of the Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory. Walter Scott is a Nebraska native and received his civil engineering degree from Colorado State University. He joined the Kiewit Construction firm where his father worked; rose under mentor Peter Kiewit and took over after Kiewit’s death in 1979. The company expanded into telecommunications, cable, and energy. Scott is a childhood friend of Warren Buffett and a member of the Berkshire Hathaway Board. With his wife, Suzanne, the Scotts funded the Scott Atrium & Education Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Suzanne died in September of 2013.


To date, the funds donated purchased 15 state-of-the-art pieces of equipment that the NAPL uses to advance the performance, safety, health and long-term well-being of student-athletes and society. The NAPL is integrating their capabilities into clinical and scientific studies and will be purchasing additional technology this upcoming year.

Interested in becoming a donor?

If you are interested in supporting either of the above research opportunities, please contact the Nebraska Development office at 800-8-BIGRED.


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