R. Tyler Richardson, Ph.D.

R. Tyler Richardson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Kinesiology, School of Behavioral Sciences and Education
Educational Activity Building, S208
EAB S208
Penn State Harrisburg
Middletown, PA 17057

Tyler Richardson, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Penn State Harrisburg. He received his undergraduate training in Mechanical Engineering before completing his master’s and doctoral degrees in Biomechanics and Movement Science, all from the University of Delaware.

Dr. Richardson’s research aims to advance the understanding of shoulder and upper extremity function and to apply that knowledge to improve individuals’ lives. His work utilizes both joint-specific and global approaches to evaluate upper extremity function. The joint-specific portion of his work utilizes novel, non-invasive methods to measure scapular (shoulder blade) motion so that scapulothoracic (scapula relative to thorax) and glenohumeral (arm relative to scapula) joint contributions to global shoulder motion can be better understood. The global approach portion of Dr. Richardson’s work uses reachable workspace analysis to quantify the regions in space that an individual can reach with his or her hand regardless of the combination of joint angles used to achieve those terminal hand positions. Consequently, reachable workspace offers a more holistic description of upper extremity functionality than most traditional clinical function assessments. Together, these joint-specific and global approaches for assessing upper extremity function provide information that is essential to quantifying healthy and pathological shoulder function, measuring the effect of clinical interventions, understanding injury risks, and identifying factors that optimize athletic performance.

Dr. Richardson’s current clinical work investigates shoulder function and the effects of surgical intervention in children with brachial plexus birth injuries and cerebral palsy through partnerships with Philadelphia Shriners Hospital for Children, Akron Children’s Hospital, and the University of Delaware. He is also examining age-related changes in upper extremity function in healthy adults and their effect on maintenance of independent living. Dr. Richardson’s work in sports biomechanics explores the relationships between shoulder mechanics, risks of injury, efficacy of rehabilitation regimens, and performance in baseball pitchers through collaborations with Wake Forest University, University of Nebraska Omaha, and American Sports Medicine Institute. He is currently the director of the Kinesiology Biomechanics Laboratory.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society of Biomechanics (ASB)
  • Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society (GCMAS)
  • Plexus Nexus
  • American Baseball Biomechanics Society (ABBS)
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Chapter American College of Sports Medicine (MARC-ACSM)
  • Upper extremity function of children with brachial plexus birth injuries and cerebral palsy
  • Age-related changes in upper extremity function and their effect on maintenance of independent living
  • Shoulder mechanics of baseball pitchers
  • Development and refinement of methods to measure scapular motion
  • Musculoskeletal modeling

Richardson RT, Russo SA, Topley MT, Chafetz RS, Kozin SH, Zlotolow DA, Richards JG. Assessment of approaches to estimate scapular orientation in children with brachial plexus birth injury. Gait & Posture. 2022; 98:17-23.

Richardson RT, Lerch BG, Nicholson KF. Evaluation of Approaches to Estimate Scapular Kinematics during Baseball Pitching. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2022; 40(18):2062-2071.

Richardson RT, Russo SA, Chafetz RS, Warshauer S, Nice E, Kozin SH, Zlotolow DA, Richards JG. Reachable workspace with real-time motion capture feedback to quantify upper extremity function: a study on children with brachial plexus birth injury. Journal of Biomechanics. 2022; 132:1-7.

Russo SA, Topley MT, Richardson RT, Richards JG, Chafetz RS, Rapp van Roden EA, Zlotolow DA, Mulcahey MJ, Kozin SH. Assessment of the relationship between Brachial Plexus Profile activity short form scores and modified Mallet scores. Journal of Hand Therapy. 2022; 35(1):51-57.

Russo SA, Richardson RT, Richards JG, Rapp van Roden EA, Chafetz RS, Topley MT, Zlotolow DA, Kozin SH. Effect of glenohumeral reduction type combined with tendon transfer for brachial plexus injury on objective, functional, and patient-reported outcomes. Journal of Hand Surgery. 2021; 46(7):e1-e11.

Richardson RT. Evaluation of an individualized linear model approach to estimate scapular kinematics during baseball pitching. Journal of Biomechanics. 2021; 114:110160.

Nicholson KF, Richardson RT, Rapp van Roden EA, Quinton RG, Anzilotti KF, Richards JG. Machine learning algorithms for predicting scapular kinematics. Medical Engineering & Physics. 2019; 65: 39-45.

Rapp van Roden EA, Richardson RT, Russo SA, Rose WC, Nicholson KF, Chafetz RS, Gabos PG, Shah SA, Samdani AF, Richards JG. Analysis of shoulder complex function after posterior spinal fusion in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. 2019; 39(1): e32-e38.

Rapp van Roden EA, Richardson RT, Russo SA, Rose WC, Chafetz RS, Gabos PG, Shah SA, Samdani AF, Richards JG. Shoulder complex mechanics in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and their relation to patient-perceived function. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics; 38(8): e446-e454.

Rapp van Roden EA, Petersen DA, Pigman J, Conner BC, Richardson RT, Crenshaw JR. The contribution of counter-rotation movements during fall recovery: a validation study. Journal of Biomechanics. 2018; 78: 102-108.

Rapp EA, Richardson RT, Russo SA, Rose WC, Richards JG. A comparison of two non-invasive methods for measuring scapular orientation in functional positions. Journal of Biomechanics. 2017; 61(16): 269-274.

Richardson RT, Rapp EA, Quinton RG, Nicholson KF, Knarr BA, Russo SA, Higginson JS, Richards JG. Errors associated with utilizing prescribed scapular kinematics to estimate unconstrained, natural upper extremity motion in musculoskeletal modeling. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. 2017 33(6): 469-473.

Nicholson KF, Richardson RT, Quinton RG, Rapp EA, Anzilotti KF, Richards JG. Validation of a mathematical approach to estimate dynamic scapular orientation. Journal of Biomechanics. 2017; 54:101-105.

Nicholson KF, Richardson RT, Miller F, Richards JG. Determining 3D scapular orientation with scapula models and biplane 2D images. Medical Engineering and Physics. 2017; 41:103-108.

Richardson RT, Nicholson KF, Rapp EA, Johnston TE, Richards JG. A comparison of acromion marker cluster calibration methods for estimating scapular kinematics during upper extremity ergometry. Journal of Biomechanics. 2016; 49(7):1255-1258.

Collins, AT, Richardson RT, Higginson JS. Interlimb symmetry of dynamic knee joint stiffness and co-contraction is maintained in early stage knee osteoarthritis. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology. 2014; 24(4):497-501.

Ph.D. in Biomechanics and Movement Science (University of Delaware)

M.S. in Biomechanics and Movement Science (University of Delaware)

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Biomedical Engineering (University of Delaware)

KINES 101 – Biophysical Foundations of Kinesiology (Fall/Spring)
KINES 360 – Neurobiology of Motor Control and Development (Spring)
KINES 384 – Biomechanics (Fall)
KINES 491W – Research Proposal (Fall/Spring)