Leon Kugler, Ph.D.

Leon Kugler, Ph.D.

  • Clinical Coordinator, Applied Health Science
  • Leader, PLNU Kinesiology Human Anatomy Project
  • Advisor, Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Phone: (619) 849-2376


  • Ph.D. Exercise Science -- University of Toledo, 1988
  • M.A. Administration of Physical Education -- California State University, Los Angeles, 1975
  • A.B. Physical Education -- Pasadena College, 1972


Dr. Kugler has expertise in lower extremity function and the pathology of injury and illness. He directs the Applied Health Science major and is the university pre-physical therapy advisor. He teaches Gross Anatomy of Neuromusculoskeletal Anatomy of the Spine and Extremities and provides leadership to the PLNU Kinesiology Human Anatomy Project that promotes original research training and teaching development for undergraduate and graduate students.  He is a member of the American Association of Anatomists. 

Research Interest:

Influence of Fatigue on Lower Extremity Biomechanics 

 Influence of ligamentous complexes on synovial joint stability

Gross cranial nerve interface with mixed spinal nerves

Alzheimers disease types, processes and prognosis

Courses Instructed:
KIN 325 Structural Kinesiology 
ATR 385 Pathology of Injury and Illness
KIN 475/675 Gross Anatomy of Musculoskeletal Systems

PLNU Honors Research Mentor

2015 Dayna A. Rinkor "Glenohumeral Ligamentous Involvement of Anterior Instability"

2015 Kari Walen "More than Overuse: Carpel Tunnel Syndrome as a Symptom of Organic Disease and Congenital Anomalies"

2014 Katie Mitchell "The Epidemic of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Female Athletes: Etiologies and Interventions"

2014 Laura Kredit "A Clinician's Guide to Non-Orthopedic Pathologies that Refer Pain to the Low Back"

2011 Brianna Dry "Self-Perceptions and Objective Measures of Movement Health in College-Aged Students"

2010 William Westergard "Diabetics Peripheral Neuropathy: A Literature Review to Determine Efficacious Exercise for Modulating Morbidity in Patients"

2009 Maure J. McCammon "The Influence of Fatigue on Frontal Plane Knee Angle and Force Generation of Hip Abduction in Females"

2008 Megan Schutter “The Influence of Fatigue on the Kinematics of the Subtalar Joint in Runners”


2007 Julianne Toler “A Comparative Kinematic Analysis of the Subtalar Joint Motion in Runners”


2005 Chelsey Hutchinson “The Influence of Anaerobic Exercise and Aerobic Capacity on the Perception of Acute Pain in College-Aged Females”


2003 Brandon Sawyer “Neuroticism, Extroversion and Pain Perception in College-Aged Athletes”


2002 Emily Altick “Influence and Interaction of Music and Sleep Deprivation on Reading Comprehension and Reaction Time of College-Aged Adults”


2001 Rebecca Jones “The Influence of Fatigue on Dynamic Balance and Vertical Power in Surfing and Basketball Athletes”


2000 Dustyn Severns “Assessment and Treatment of Pathologies and Gait Extremes in a College Pole Vaulter: a Case Study”


1999 Crystal Sandoval “Electromyographic Activity of the Vastus Medialis Obliques and the Vastus Lateralis With and Without McConnell Taping During Exercise in Females Symptomatic for Patellofemoral Syndrome”


1999 Katy Jeffcoat “A Normative Assessment of the Electromyographic Activity in the Quadriceps During Closed Chain Kinetic Activities”


1999 Rozlynn Rockwell “The Effects of Magnet Therapy on Delayed Muscle Soreness in the Nondominant Elbow Flexors”


1999 Kim Riggs “Influence of Foot Orthotics on Balance in Dynamic, Single-leg Stance”


1998 Sara Lyon “A Comparative Study of Subacromial Space in the Diagnosis of Supraspinatus Tendon Impingement by Open Magnetic Resonance Imaging”


1998 Rachelle Swank “Impact of Dark Cola Beverages on Calciurea and Trends in Beverage Choice in College-Aged Women”


1996 Todd Sumwalt “ The Efficacy of the On-Track Brace Compared to McConnell’s Taping in the Treatment of Patellofemoral Syndrome”


1996 Sean Martin, Chad Swank “A Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluation of the Effects of the Breathe Right on Sleep and Reaction Time”


1995 Amanda Lee “The Efficacy of Weight Belt Mediated Myoelectric Activity in the Erector Spinae of Females During a Lifting and Lowering Task

1994 Shantelle Pierce “Outcomes of Required Fitness Courses for Students in a Liberal Arts College”


1992 Jennifer Spurlock “The Influence of Experience on Knowledge Acquisition and Reading Rate.”


1990 Nicole DeForrest “The Effects of Three Types of Pre-exercise Carbohydrate Beverages on Blood Glucose Levels.”


Grants Received:
PLNU Research and Special Projects Grant 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006
PLNU Alumni Teaching Development Award 1998, 2001, 2003, 2006

Kug loves to teach; to participate with students in the study of movement and pathology of injury and illness and life


Today’s motto:
To really live is to worship God.


Quotation currently providing focus and inspiration:

“Life is a Test; a Trust; a Temporary Assignment.” Rick Warren in Purpose Driven Life


Favorite recent reads include:
Yancy, P. What is so Amazing About Grace
Young W.P. The Shack
Gibbs N, Duffy M. The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House
Warren, R. Purpose Driven Life


Most trusted and referenced
Moore KL, Dalley AF. Clinically Oriented Anatomy


Dr. Kugler performs academic advising for Exercise Science majors (Pre-professionals in Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Chiropractic, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics). Many current clinical professionals have blessed PLNU as their alma mater.


As Chair, Institution Review Board, Dr. Kugler brings leadership in the protections afforded subjects in PLNU research in which they are involved.

Dr. Kugler has led or been a team member of the following international athletic/academic/ missions trips while at Point Loma:


· Mexico City: Athletic Trainer for San Diego all-star soccer team versus national U-18 team

· Far East: Athletic Training for Athletes in Action Men’s Basketball

· Seoul, Korea: Athletic Training NAIA All-Star Baseball team

· Tanzania, Africa: Led two PLNU LoveWorks Ministry trips which included service with orphans and churches in May, 2006 & 07. Co-Leaders: Stasi Raines and Ann Davis

· Liberia, Africa: Led PLNU LoveWorks Ministry trip which included children’s, young adult and church ministry in Monrovia and Zwedru May, 2008. Co-Leader: Liz Kalama

· Western Europe: Led Kinesiology sports medicine groups on alternate years (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Antwerp, Bruges, Munich, Salzburg)


Married to his high school sweetheart, Chris, the Kugler’s have 3 adult off spring and 8.25 grandchildren


Favorite painting: Briton Rivière Daniel in the Lion’s Den

“Daniel’s body language is not one of fear. He is in the place of obedience to God and if he is to die God is honored; if he lives God is honored. He is poised and in communication with His Heavenly Dad. Those lions look constrained but Daniel can smell the aroma and heat of their breaths. He still trusts God.”