About the LSSI

Kovacs First Step CoachThe Life Sport Science Institute (LSSI) is where science meets performance. The institute combines research, application and education for improved sports performance and the reduction of injuries. Our team of leading sport health science faculty, athletic trainers, strength and conditioning professionals, chiropractors, physiologists, staff and students work together to help solve some of the unique challenges in elite sport. Cutting edge technology meets a vitalistic philosophy to improve athletic performance.

The institute uses the unique and varied expertise throughout the University to create an integrative, synergistic, science based performance team through the combined efforts of faculty from Sport Health Sciences, College of Chiropractic, College of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies, healthcare staff and experts throughout the world.



The Life Sport Science Institute is designed to optimize performance, reduce injuries and maximize life-long wellness as an integral driving force of Life University becoming the preeminent performance-centered vitalistic institution in the world.


Create a unique integrative, synergistic, science-based, performance driven institute for athletes at Life University and in the global community.

The LSSI’s vision is centered on four areas:

  • Sports Performance
  • Athletic Care and Performance
  • Community Engagement
  • Applied and Clinical Research

This vision will be accomplished through research & education by the combined efforts of like-minded professionals, including the staff of the Institute, University faculty and experts throughout the world.

The LSSI Team

Director, LIFE Sport Science Institute
Associate Professor, Sport Health Science Department, Life University

Kovacs-headshot-320Dr. Kovacs is the Director of the Life Sport Science Institute and an Associate Professor in the Sport Health Science Department at Life University. He is a sports administrator, performance physiologist, researcher, professor, author, speaker and coach with an extensive background training and researching elite athletes. He formally directed the Sport Science, Strength & Conditioning and Coaching Education departments for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and was the Director of the Gatorade Sport Science Institute as well as an executive with Pepsico in the area of long term research and innovation.

He has been a keynote speaker and presenter on 5 continents and performed well over 200 workshops and presentations. He has presented at Harvard University, NYU Medical School, Princeton University, University of North Carolina, Emory Medical Center, Chinese Olympic Committee, South Korea Olympic Committee, Mexican Olympic Committee, United States Olympic Committee, Queensland Academy of Sport, NBA, NFL & MLB teams among dozens of other leading institutions. Dr. Kovacs is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and has published over 50 research articles and abstracts in some of the top scientific journals in the field of sport and exercise science. He was the Associate Editor-in-Chief of the Strength & Conditioning Journal and is on the editorial board and a reviewer for many top tier journals. He was an All-American and NCAA doubles champion in tennis at Auburn University and competed professionally after University.

He earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Department of Kinesiology at Auburn University. Dr. Kovacs earned his doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of Alabama. He was the youngest ever recipient of the International Tennis Hall of Fame Educational Merit Award and the 2014 US Olympic Committee “Doc Counsilman” Science Award for his innovative use of sport science application to Olympic athletes. He has worked with dozens of top professional tennis players and has vast experience working with athletes, and coaches, in other sports including NBA, NFL, MLB and Soccer athletes. He has been involved with two NFL Superbowls, the Brazilian National Football team for the 2014 World Cup, the US Fed Cup team and dozens of other major sporting events applying sport science principles to optimizing athletic performance.

He has published six books on different aspects of sport science and currently volunteers on numerous committees and boards in professional organizations along with many community outreach programs. Dr. Kovacs is also co-founder of the International Tennis Performance Association (iTPA) which is the worldwide leading education and certification organization for individuals that work with tennis athletes in the areas of performance enhancement and injury prevention. The organization has members in 35 countries (www.itpa-tennis.org).

Dr. John Downes, DC
Executive Director Emeritus,Life Sport Science Institute