UK Sports Medicine Research Institute

New UK Sports Medicine Research Institute focuses on injury prevention, athlete performance

UK celebrated on Tuesday the opening of the new UK Sports Medicine Research Institute (SMRI), spearheaded by the UK College of Health Sciences and supported in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The 10,000-square-foot facility, part of the UK Nutter Training Facility on campus, will conduct research into injury prevention and performance optimization for professional and collegiate athletes, the tactical athletes of the U.S. military, and physically active people of all ages in Kentucky and beyond.

“Our research and scholarly endeavors offer the brightest hope for transformation and change for our Commonwealth and the broader world we serve,” UK President Dr. Eli Capilouto said. “This sentiment fuels the work of this university, and it fuels the work of the Sports Medicine Research Institute.”

Capilouto held the institute up as an example of the university’s efforts to collaborate across disciplines in addressing the challenges and disparities that face the Commonwealth, noting that seven UK colleges are involved in the work of the SMRI, in addition to personnel from UK HealthCare.

There is no similar facility within 400 miles of Lexington.

State-of-the-art technology

The SMRI is outfitted with sophisticated equipment to assess biomechanical, physiological, musculoskeletal and neurocognitive health. It’s supported by a team of eight core faculty, staff, and research assistants and 40 affiliate faculty. In addition to its Lexington location, SMRI operates a facility in Camp Lejeune, N.C., where its team works directly with MARSOC – the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.

A biomechanics laboratory conducts motion analysis studies using 14 cameras and a dual-force plate system in the floor, similar to the technology used to make video games and animated movies. Equipment shaped like a horse simulates realistic movement for jockeys and other equestrians.

There is also a neurocognitive lab that uses virtual reality to assess visual acuity, reaction times and balance, which are critical measurements for concussion recovery.

Other equipment is designed to measure oxygen consumption, workload and metabolic costs, physiological stress, and the influence of sleep deprivation/fatigue, all of which are important contributors to musculoskeletal strength, endurance, operational performance and injury risk.

Dr. Scott Lephart, dean of the UK College of Health Sciences and founder of the SMRI, leads the $4.2 million Department of Defense grant that helped launch the institute. He said that the military can adapt from lessons learned in athletics and vice-versa.

“The elite warriors of the U.S. military are expected to be at peak performance in extremely dangerous and unpredictable situations, and there’s no room – either financially or personally – for them to sustain a preventable injury,” said Lephart, who is also UK Endowed Chair of Orthopaedic Research. “Our research with athletes both military and civilian is mutually beneficial, and it will result in strategies for injury prevention and performance for every walk of life.”

Impacts in education, health

University of Kentucky Provost Tim Tracy emphasized that the SMRI serves an educational need, in addition to its missions in research and clinical care, noting that the program provides educational experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students across the university.

“With this emphasis on collaboration, the different branches of UK’s mission – education, research, service and care – converge in the work of the SMRI,” he said.

Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs, predicts that SMRI’s impact will extend far beyond the realms of tactical warriors and professional athletes.

“SMRI is a powerful merger of research, outreach and collaboration, enhancing UK HealthCare’s efforts to address chronic disease and poor health in Kentucky,” Karpf said.

UK Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart noted that the SMRI was not just a valuable resource for UK athletes, but for professional and youth athletes across Kentucky and nationally.

“This is yet another example of the power of partnership on our campus,” Barnhart said. “By working together, we are creating cutting-edge resources for athletes both here at UK and beyond. The efforts of the SMRI will help minimize injury and maximize athletic performance in sports ranging from football to NASCAR and from basketball to horse racing.”

UK Sports Medicine Research Institute

Leaders from UK, UK HealthCare and UK Athletics came together to celebrate the opening of the SMRI.


Next steps:

Watch: UK researcher discusses his work to improve jockey health, safety

As a researcher in the UK College of Health Sciences, Carl Mattacola spearheads the Equine Jockey/Rider Injury Prevention Initiative, a first step toward building a medical model for jockeys that is similar to the care offered to athletes in other sports, including hockey, NASCAR racing and football. The initiative aims to provide jockeys with proper management, biomechanical assessments and injury prevention.

“A horse race is a pretty high powered event. … You have to be strong and balanced to maintain control of this 1,000-pound horse going about 30 miles per hour,” Mattacola said. “We spend most of our time focused on the horse, but the rider is an athlete, too, and he or she can benefit from the expertise that we have to offer.”

Watch this episode of “Five Questions” to learn more about Mattacola’s efforts to improve the health and safety of jockeys and other riders. Mattacola also talked about his history with horses and what he enjoys most about being a health educator.


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In the latest edition of Making the Rounds, Dr. Scott Mair discusses always wanting to be a doctor, his hobbies and why he enjoys living in Lexington.

A passion for sports led Dr. Scott Mair to orthopaedic surgery

Making the RoundsWe sat down with Dr. Scott Mair, an orthopaedic surgeon at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, for our latest installment of Making the Rounds, a blog series that introduces you to some of our providers at UK HealthCare. Dr. Mair specializes in shoulder and knee arthroscopy and shoulder reconstruction.

How did you first become interested in medicine?

I grew up in Rochester, Minn., and everybody there is a doctor, basically. My dad was a pediatrician. I didn’t know there was anything else to do. I’m kind of kidding, but there are an unbelievable number of doctors there, per capita, just because the Mayo Clinic’s there and it’s a small town. So obviously I knew a lot of doctors, and they seemed to like what they did.

Why did you decide to specialize in orthopaedics?

It had more to do with my love of sports. I wasn’t a spectacular athlete, but I played a lot of sports, and I enjoyed being around sports. So when I would hear about team doctors, it seemed like a good fit. I get to work with several of the UK teams, which is a lot of fun.

What types of injuries do you treat?

Mostly what I see is shoulder problems. Probably about 80 percent of my practice is shoulder things. A lot of young athletes with stability problems, and then older people who have rotator cuff problems. But I see all kinds of other, different shoulder abnormalities, too.

What should patients know about rehab after surgery?

People think rehab is something where they have to push through the pain and do everything they’re supposed to do – which, in certain surgeries or certain rehabs, is important. But a lot of times, it’s almost the opposite, where once people start feeling well, we’ve got to slow them down because some things take months to heal.

For a lot of my younger patients especially, after a couple of months when we’ve stabilized their shoulder, they feel like they’re good as new, and they start doing things they’re not supposed to do before they’re healed. So half my time I spend trying to slow people down while they’re healing up after surgery instead of pushing them along, like you do in some surgeries.

What do you do in your spare time?

I have four daughters, so most of the time I’m doing things with them. I used to play a lot of golf, but they’re not much into that, so I spend a lot of time chasing them around for their sports and things. They range from age 12 to 20 now.

Describe your ideal weekend. 

I’d be at a UK basketball game and hanging out with my family after that, doing something with our friends. Maybe go fishing.

What do you like most about living in Lexington?

I’ve been here about 18 years and I think it’s a fun place. There’s a lot to do, it’s easy to get to big cities, but it’s not such a big place that you can’t get around where you need to go. And it’s got friendly people.

What’s your favorite movie?

I like some of the old-school movies like Caddyshack and Fletch. Those are probably still my favorites.


Check out our video interview with Dr. Scott Mair below, where he talks about why working with the student-athletes at UK is so rewarding.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, which provides leading-edge treatment for a variety of injuries and conditions.
  • When Patty Lane was diagnosed with arthritis in her hip, she was told her time as a competitive triathlete was over. That’s when she turned to UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine for a second opinion. Read Patty’s story.
New Lexington Shriners facility

New Shriners facility enhances patient care, strengthens collaboration with UK

On Sunday, patients, medical center staff and doctors, donors, and UK HealthCare leaders came together to dedicate the new Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center Lexington facility, which opened earlier this spring on the UK HealthCare campus.

While healthcare providers at Shriners Medical Center and Kentucky Children’s Hospital have collaborated for decades, the opening of the new facility will better accommodate follow-up appointments for patients seeing multiple doctors for complex medical conditions.

“Shriners Medical Center moving to the UK HealthCare campus allows for seamless care to occur across institutional boundaries,” said Dr. Ryan Muchow, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Shriners and UK HealthCare. “The patients are benefited tremendously when two excellent institutions combine mission and service to advance the pediatric orthopaedic care.”

Continuity of care

When the new facility opened earlier this year, patients like Zayleigh Hancock were the first to benefit.

Zayleigh, a longtime patient at Shriners, was born with a complex medical condition called hemiplegia cerebral palsy (CP), a brain impairment that impacts a person’s ability to control movement and posture. Traveling to Lexington from her hometown of Morristown, Tenn., the 10-year-old has received ongoing treatment and numerous surgical interventions at both Shriners and KCH to improve her mobility and quality of life.

Earlier this year, Zayleigh’s head started slumping to the side, a symptom caused by overlapping bones in her neck. The condition required an inpatient surgical procedure at KCH and follow-up care and assessment at Shriners.

This close connection between KCH and Shriners, which is now connected by a pedestrian bridge to UK Albert B. Chandler Hospital and KCH, enabled seamless inpatient treatment and post-surgical care for Zayleigh. In addition, Zayleigh benefited from continuity of care, seeing familiar orthopaedic surgeons who have monitored her condition for years while also having access to advanced pediatric specialists at KCH.

A history of collaboration

Shriners has operated in Lexington since 1926. Transitioning from its former location on Richmond Road, Shriners now occupies 60,000 square feet of space on the bottom three floors of the new building on South Limestone. UK HealthCare leases the top two floors for ophthalmology services. The new Shriners includes a motion analysis center, 20 patient exam rooms, two surgical suites, a rehabilitation gymnasium, a prosthetics and orthotics department, therapy rooms, and interactive artwork. The energy-efficient building has geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting and occupancy sensors, and automated equipment and controls.

UK HealthCare and Shriners have forged a longstanding collaborative relationship through years of service to Kentucky’s children. Pediatric specialists in the fields of orthopaedics, anesthesiology and rehabilitation serve on the medical staff of both organizations.

Mark D. Birdwhistell, vice president for administration and external affairs at UK HealthCare, called the new facility a win for UK, Shriners and the Lexington community.

“The building we are dedicating today will allow us to collaborate in a whole new way,” Birdwhistell said during the dedication, “bringing together Shriners Medical Center’s pediatric orthopaedic expertise and the Kentucky Children’s Hospital’s specialty and subspecialty care for children with complex conditions.”

Watch the video below to hear Dr. Henry Iwinksi, the chief of staff at Shriners and pediatric surgeon at UK HealthCare, discuss the longstanding relationship between Shriners and UK and what the new facility will mean for kids and families in the Commonwealth.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about the pediatric orthopaedic care provided by the experts at KCH and Shriners.
  • When your child is sick or hurt, you want the best care possible. That’s exactly what you get at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. Learn more about KCH.
Dr. Lattermann, director for Cartilage Repair and Restoration at UK HealthCare, spoke about what inspired his career in sports medicine.

Watch: 5 questions with sports surgeon Dr. Christian Lattermann

Each day brings something different for Dr. Christian Lattermann; that’s one of the things that keeps him passionate about his job.

As director of the Center for Cartilage Repair and Restoration at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, Lattermann treats patients, does community outreach, conducts research and mentors students.

Even though he’s a leader in the field, he says his patients teach him something new every day.

Watch this episode of “Five Questions” to learn how a semi-professional soccer career inspired Lattermann to become an orthopaedic surgeon and why he’s so excited about the sports medicine research happening here at UK.


Next steps:

  • Learn more about the UK Center for Cartilage Repair and Restoration, which offers operative and nonoperative treatments for a wide array of cartilage-related conditions.
  • After a torn meniscus and a failed surgery, marathon runner Lisa Hall was told she would need a knee replacement. Not willing to give up on her goals, Lisa turned to UK Sports Medicine and Dr. Lattermann for help. Read Lisa’s story.
Patty Lane had arthritis in her hip that prevented her from running. But Dr. Stephen Duncan offered a surgery that enabled her to continue to her passion.

After hip surgery at UK, triathlete pursues her passion without limits

When Patty Lane’s orthopaedic surgeon told her that her time as an endurance athlete was over, she was so upset she didn’t even tell her family.

The stiffness that she had been experiencing in her hip was diagnosed as arthritis, and she felt like her body had let her down. She contemplated what the diagnosis would mean and if she could be happy standing on the sideline at races. When she talked to her son’s triathlon coach about her diagnosis and prognosis, he gave her valuable advice: “Go see a surgeon who’s an athlete.”

Her research led her to Dr. Stephen Duncan, an orthopaedic surgeon at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine who is also an avid cyclist. When Lane, who lives near Ashland, Ky., arrived for her appointment with Duncan, the options she received from him were “day and night” compared to what she’d heard originally.

“He told me he’d have me active again and gave me a variety of options I hadn’t been told about earlier,” Lane said.

Total hip arthroplasty

Duncan recommended a total hip arthroplasty, or THA, which involves removing the femoral head (the round top of the femur) and shaving off the cartilage inside the hip socket. A titanium shell is then placed into the socket, and a titanium stem is fitted inside the thigh bone. Finally, a plastic liner is placed inside the socket and a ceramic head is placed on the femoral component.

With a traditional THA, doctors discourage high-impact activities, as they increase the risk of fracturing and early wear. For Lane, Duncan used a newer technology called dual mobility, which uses a metal liner and two moving heads. This allows for less wear and tear, and decreases the risk of implant fracture. He also used a stem in her femur that has a special coating, which creates a natural connection between her femur bone and the implant. That helps prevent weakening of the bone in Lane’s femur around the stem, and also helps her avoid any pain in the femur that might be experienced with running.

Without Duncan, ‘I’d be done’

After six months of recovery, Lane was back to racing, winning her age group in a sprint-distance triathlon (half-mile swim, 12.4-mile bike, 3.1-mile run). In the time since, Lane has competed in more than 20 races, including the New York City Marathon, an ultra-marathon and multiple triathlons of varying distances.

Lane noticed early on in her journey that there was little information available about what it was like to return to endurance sports after a hip replacement or a surgery like hers. The few articles she found provided conflicting information or gave advice she didn’t feel was right. She read that you’re not the same athlete after hip surgery and that it would negatively affect her times. She also read accounts of how surgery had helped relieve stiffness and pain and led to better race results.

If Lane had listened to her first surgeon, she said, “I’d be done.” Duncan’s support and second opinion meant she could continue doing what she loved  being active and staying healthy.

“Get a second opinion, and find a doctor who is familiar with the sports discipline you’re interested in,” she said.

Duncan’s advice echoed Lane’s.

“I would recommend second opinions if someone is told that they need to give up their passion,” he said. “Whether it be cycling, golf, running or hockey, patients should know that there are surgical options that surgeons can tailor to fit each patient’s needs.”

There are a lot of places to find information about surgeons who may be able to help, he said.

“Seminars from surgeon leaders can be helpful,” Duncan said. “Patients themselves often are great advocates through word-of-mouth, online postings and online searches to find surgeons who are comfortable caring for these endurance athletes and have success getting patients back to their desired level of competition.”

If Lane hadn’t followed the advice of her son’s coach, she wouldn’t have been able to travel to Cozumel, Mexico, to compete as a member of Team USA Triathlon. Thanks to hard work and an unwillingness to give up, she will have the opportunity to compete in a duathlon (run, bike, run) in Canada this September. She has no limits on when she’ll have to stop competing and is excited to continue to compete (and win) races all over the world.

“[Duncan] knew how important it was to me to be active,” she said. “He was encouraging and had no hesitation that I’d be able to run again.”

Six months after her hip surgery, Patty Lane was back on her feet. She has since competed in more than 20 races, including the New York City Marathon, an ultra-marathon and multiple triathlons of varying distances.

Six months after her hip surgery, Patty Lane was back to racing. She has since competed in more than 20 races, including the New York City Marathon, an ultra-marathon and multiple triathlons.


Next steps:

A torn ACL results in a significant risk of developing arthritis within 10 to 15 years. If you've torn your ACL, be on the lookout for arthritis symptoms.

A torn ACL could lead to arthritis, writes UK orthopaedic surgeon

Written by Christian Lattermann, MD, director of the UK Center for Cartilage Repair and Restoration

Christian Lattermann, MD

A torn anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of the most common knee injuries, with as many as 200,000 cases per year in the U.S. Young people under the age of 20 are at particular risk, in part because of participation in sports.

Despite the frequency of torn ACLs, many people don’t know that the injury results in a significant risk of developing arthritis within 10 to 15 years. Around 70 to 80 percent of patients with a torn ACL will develop arthritis within that time frame. Because most ACL injuries occur in young people, this means that arthritis could set in at a very early age. If a patient is 15 years old when she tears her ACL, for example, she could be struggling with arthritis by the age of 30.

The increased risk of arthritis is true regardless of whether the ACL tear is surgically repaired or not. The actual injury, and the knee’s inflammatory response to the trauma, seem to be the culprits. The ACL is one of four main ligaments in the knee, connecting the thighbone to the shinbone, and any injury severe enough to tear the ligament is likely to affect other parts of the knee, as well. We also see bruises to the bone and damage to the cartilage, meniscus or other ligaments with about half of all ACL injuries.

At UK, doctors and researchers are currently trying to find ways to reduce the risk of arthritis by interrupting the inflammatory process in the week following the ACL injury. We hope that our research will lead to better long-term outcomes for patients who experience ACL tears.

If you’ve torn your ACL in the past, be on the lookout for signs of arthritis in your knee. Symptoms include pain and swelling with activity. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s best to consult an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist, who will be trained in issues related to ACL injury and recovery.

If you’ve recently experienced an ACL injury, the most important thing for your recovery is adequate rehabilitation. The musculature around the knee joint is the biggest factor to prevent re-injury. The re-tear rate for ACL reconstruction under the age of 20 is around 20 to 25 percent, but a large portion of that can be prevented by being enrolled and trained in injury prevention rehabilitation.


Next steps:

UK Sports Medicine patient Lisa Hall

Runner chases Boston Marathon qualification with help of UK Sports Medicine

While teaching a fitness class in May 2012, Lisa Hall realized something was wrong with her knee.

After seeing an orthopaedic surgeon close to her home in Knoxville, Tenn., Hall was diagnosed with a tear in her meniscus, the soft disc of cartilage that cushions the knee. She underwent surgery to treat the injury and alleviate her pain so that she could continue to teach fitness classes and run. Her goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Unfortunately, Hall’s surgery was unsuccessful, and she developed bone-on-bone arthritis. In August 2012, she consulted with a second surgeon, looking for treatment options that could reduce her discomfort and allow her to continue her active lifestyle. It was then that she received some bad news: She was told she likely needed a knee replacement and that she should give up running.

Dr. Lattermann offers a solution

Christian Lattermann, MD

Hall refused to give up her dream of running the Boston Marathon, and a physician at Vanderbilt University referred her to Dr. Christian Lattermann at the UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Lattermann specializes in treating injuries and other conditions that cause pain and degeneration of knee and shoulder joints. He recommended an osteotomy, a surgical procedure where a wedge of bone is removed from the tibia (shin bone) or femur (thigh bone) to realign the leg and shift weight from away from the area of the knee damaged by arthritis. In Hall’s case, the wedge was then filled with a bone graft and reinforced with a metal plate to support her knee.

Never one to shy away from a physical challenge, Hall completed physical therapy after surgery and was given the green light to use an indoor bike or elliptical to continue her recovery. Hall’s increased activity caused her knee pain to return, but it didn’t stop her from biking or participating in fitness classes again.

In May 2013, however, she felt a pop while performing a squat exercise and was forced to rest her knee with for five additional weeks after Lattermann surgically replaced the original plate supporting her knee.

Despite the setback, Hall followed Lattermann’s second rehabilitation instructions and returned to teaching group fitness classes. By December 2013, she was running on a special treadmill that reduced the impact of running on her knee joint. In March 2014, Hall competed in her first half marathon since her first surgery. She’s now completed two full marathons and several more half marathons.

“I really didn’t want a knee replacement, but no other doctor offered me anything else,” Hall said. “Dr. Lattermann offered me hope. I know that God led me to Dr. Lattermann and worked through him to allow me to run and teach again.”

In 2015, Lattermann removed the metal plate in her knee, and Hall continues to train. She missed her goal of qualifying for the 2017 Boston Marathon this past year by only two minutes.

‘Don’t give up’

The support Hall received from Lattermann and the care team at UK Sports Medicine is what keeps her returning to Lexington every six months for follow-up visits.

Lattermann’s advice for athletes hoping to maintain their level of activity is to talk about their goals with an orthopaedic surgeon who has expertise in both joint replacement and sports medicine. He also said it’s important for patients to understand the potential limitations of different treatment options.

“While one solution may allow high level of function, it may not allow complete pain-free activity,” Lattermann said.

Although Hall knows that not every surgical option works for every patient, she advises other patients to advocate for themselves.

“Keep searching, don’t give up – there are answers,” she said.


Next steps:

spring exercise

It’s spring! Get out and get moving

With more daylight and warmer temperatures beckoning, many people are ready to say goodbye to the winter doldrums and get active. If you’ve been holed up since Thanksgiving, however, lacing up your running shoes and heading out for a two-mile run may not be the best way to ease into a new exercise routine.

Spring is a great time to get moving, and our five-step guide can help you create a successful  and enjoyable  fitness plan.

Step 1: Talk with your doctor

Before you start working up a sweat, schedule a visit to your doctor to gauge on your overall health. Discuss any aches, pains or limitations that might impact your plans to get active. Talk about how to build a cardiovascular foundation that will lend itself to further activity.

Step 2: Make a plan

Exercise should be planned for a time in the day when you feel rested and have the most energy. If you are planning to exercise outside, avoid extreme temperatures (warmer than 85° F or colder than 32° F). Remember to dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable, supportive footwear. An indoor contingency plan for exercise can help you stay active even during spring showers.

Step 3: Warm up and cool down

Aerobic exercise, such as walking or biking, is recommended for those getting started with a new routine. Your exercise session should start with a warm-up period of slow walking or low-resistance bicycling and end with a cool-down segment at similar intensity. At the end of exercise, stretch the major muscle groups used by holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds. This can minimize injury and fatigue and increase flexibility.

Step 4: Make it manageable

Begin your exercise routine with an amount of time that is manageable, something as short as a five-minute walk around the neighborhood. Once you’re comfortable exercising for that long, slowly increase the duration of your sessions. Don’t push yourself too hard, either. You should be able to maintain a conversation at all times of exercise without experiencing breathlessness.

Step 5: Stay active

Exercise shouldn’t be a slog, so make sure you’re doing something that you enjoy and makes you feel good. A successful start of a new routine will keep you motivated to continue and progress. Fitness trackers and fitness apps are additional options to stay engaged and monitor progress. Enlisting a companion for exercise will add an element of support and keep the activity enjoyable.


Next steps:

After experiencing a life-changing car accident, Baylee Booth underwent a miraculous recovery, allowing her to return to cheerleading.

Ky. high school cheerleader honored by UK Sports Medicine

A high school cheerleader who, in 2014, was severely injured in a car crash, has been named the UK Sports Medicine Comeback Athlete of the Year.

In June 2014, Baylee Booth, now a senior at Russell Independent High School in Greenup County, was in a car accident that changed her life. The accident left her with head trauma and multiple skull and facial fractures. She was in a coma for almost a week. The Comeback Player of the Year Award is given to a student-athlete who has overcome adversity that affected their ability to participate in Kentucky High School Athletic Association-sanctioned sports.

After the crash, Booth had to relearn how to walk, speak and feed herself. In the fall of 2014, Booth was able to return to the sport she loved – cheerleading. During the 2015-16 cheer season, Booth participated in competitions and was on the sideline cheering for her team at every game, including the girls state basketball tournament. She’s even back to stunting and tumbling practice twice a week.

“I would like to dedicate this award to people that have supported me since my TBI [traumatic brain injury]. Without my coaches, teachers, teammates, family, friends and countless medical professionals, I would not be here today,” Booth said. “They never gave up on me, and I would like to thank each and every one.”


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