USC will soon launch a study to determine the effects of surfing on both chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Leading the research is Jason Kutch, PhD, an associate professor at the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, who found that his own chronic pain vanished after his regular surfing rides — and that his pain on non-surfing days was significantly reduced.

Soon after, a documentary titled, “Resurface,” in which veterans with PTSD found relief in surfing, inspired Kutch to investigate how surfing affects the brain. His colleague James Finley, PhD along with Heather Culbertson, PhD, an assistant professor of computer science at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, will then help Kutch develop a virtual-reality simulation detailed enough to replicate surfing’s benefits in order to expand access.

Their work will be funded by a Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute Multidisciplinary Pilot Grant.

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