Leon Kugler, Ph.D.

Professor of Kinesiology, Emeritus

Dr. Leon Kugler has expertise in lower extremity function and the pathology of injury and illness. He advises applied health science majors 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, which promotes original research training and teaching development for undergraduate and graduate students.


  • Ph.D., Exercise Science, Minor in Anatomy,  Medical College of Ohio-University of Toledo
  • M.A., Administration of Physical Education, California State University, Los Angeles
  • B.A., Physical Education, Pasadena College

Courses Taught

  • Structural Kinesiology – KIN 325 
  • Pathology of Injury and Illness – ATR 385 
  • Gross Anatomy of Musculoskeletal Systems – KIN 475/675 
  • Internship in Kinesiology

Experience in Field

  • Performs academic advising for exercise science majors (pre-professionals in physical therapy, physician assistant, chiropractic, cardiac rehabilitation, exercise physiology, and biomechanics) 
  • Chair, Institution Review Board, bringing leadership in the protections afforded subjects in PLNU research in which they are involved

Led or been a team member of the following international athletic/academic/missions trips:

  • 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 that included service with orphans and churches in May 2006 and 2007; co-leaders: Stasi Raines and Ann Davis
  • Liberia, Africa: Led PLNU LoveWorks ministry trip that included children’s, young adult, and church ministry in Monrovia and Zwedru in May 2008; co-leader: Liz Kalama
  • Western Europe: Led kinesiology sports medicine groups for alternate years (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Apeldoorn, Antwerp, Bruges, Munich, and Salzburg)

Awards and Honors

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”

See More Awards and Honors

  • 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”