A headshot photo of Samantha Scarneo-Miller.

Samantha Scarneo-Miller, PhD, ATC

Assistant Professor, MSAT Program Director

Contact Information

PO Box 9225
1 Medical Center Drive
PO BOX 9225
Morgantown, WV 26505


  • Department of Human Performance - Division of Athletic Training

Graduate Training

  • University of Connecticut, Master of Science in Kinesiology, 2014
  • University of Connecticut, PhD in Kinesiology, 2017
  • University of Connecticut, Graduate Certificate in Public Health, 2017


  • Korey Stringer Institute, Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2020

Research Interests

As athletic participation numbers continue to rise, corresponding catastrophic and even fatal injuries continue to occur in sport. Unfortunately, many high schools are ill prepared to prevent and/or respond to these types of injuries. My colleagues and I have identified that fewer than 10% of high schools have a comprehensive emergency action plan, 3.9% have comprehensive heat acclimatization procedures, 28% have comprehensive environmental monitoring, and the list goes on. My research aims to improve proactive preparation for these emergency situations which includes the development of policies and procedures, emergency action plans and standing orders. Proactive emergency planning improves patient outcomes, allowing for a safer environment for athletes to participate in.

My research career, to date, has focused on evaluating benchmark data regarding the current adoption of sport-safety best practices, such as automated external defibrillator (AED) availability, emergency action planning, and exertional heat illness preparedness and management. My research agenda integrates public health concepts into sports medicine education and research using multiple public health frameworks and models to examine the various facets affecting health and safety policy development and implementation, particularly at the high school level. The long-term goal of this research is to develop tailored strategies for athletic trainers to utilize to improve health and safety policy implementation, thus enhancing athlete safety and promoting lifelong physical activity.

I have received federal, Foundation, and internal funding to support my research agenda. I have also been an invited speaker to many national organization symposiums including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and American College of Sports Medicine. Additionally, I serve as an expert witness on catastrophic injury legal cases.

Current Research Projects

Policy Development for Response, Education and Planning (PREP) Program

  • ‚ÄčWritten health and safety policies for emergent injuries result in improved patient outcomes and prevent death. Compliance with these life-saving policies allows for deliberate, proactive emergency planning and is a critical first step to implementation of best practices. Despite reduced death rates, most high schools do not have written policies for all necessary components of best practices outlined in position statements. Athletic trainers lack formal in-depth training to evaluate policies, and thus, are ineffective at evaluating these critical documents to improve best-practice adoption. The ultimate goal of the PREPare program is to emphasize the magnitude of positive policy changes when learning from a trusted peer-athletic trainer and can provide a framework for school-level healthcare resource management and healthcare provision for high school athletes.
  • Current funding: WVU Research and Scholarship Advancement, internal faculty grant)
  • Collaborators: Dr. Christy Eason (University of Connecticut, Korey Stringer Institute), Dr. Zachary Winkelmann (University of South Carolina), Dr. Melissa Olfert (West Virginia University)

Legal Study Case Review

  • Previous research has focused on the prevalence, incidence, and immediate treatment of sudden death among the athletic population; however, it has not included research on the other factors surrounding catastrophic cardiac events in athletics and the corresponding legal proceedings. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study is to determine common variables in legal proceedings regarding sudden death in organized sports.
  • Collaborators: Dr. Susan Yeargin (University of South Carolina), Dr. Zachary Winkelmann (University of South Carolina), Dr. Kristen Kucera (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research), Dr. Barbara Osborne (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Grants and Research

Current Grants and Contracts

  • West Virginia University, Research and Scholarship Advancement, internal faculty grant
    • Scarneo-Miller, Principal Investigator
    • Improving emergency preparedness in West Virginia high school athletics: the Policy development for Response, Education and Planning (PREP) Program
    • Dates: July 2021-June 2022
    • Total Support: $7,500
  • NIH Loan Repayment Program 2020
    • AwardID: 1L40HD103196-01
    • Extramural Award; NICHD
    • A National Evaluation of Best-Practice Policy Adoption in Secondary School Athletics
    • Dates: July 2020-June 2022
    • Total Support: $67,424.06

Completed Grants and Contracts

  • Eastern Athletic Trainers Association
    • Scarneo, Principal Investigator
    • A National Evaluation of Best-Practice Policy Adoption in Secondary School Athletics
    • Dates: July 2018 – January 2020
    • Total Support: $10,000
  • National Athletic Trainers Association: Research and Education Foundation
    • DiStefano, Principal Investigator
    • Scarneo, Consultant
    • Dissemination of comprehensive safety toolkit to improve best-practice policy adoption at the secondary school level
    • Dates: June 2018 – August 2020
    • Total Support: $50,000
  • National Athletic Trainers Association: Research and Education Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Grant
    • Scarneo, Principal Investigator
    • Emergency Action Planning Policy Adoption in Secondary School Athletics
    • Dates: June 2017 – August 2018
    • Total Support: $2,500

Recent Publications

  1. Scarneo-Miller SE, Eason CM, Adams WM, Stearns RL, Casa DJ. State-Level Implementation of Health and Safety Policies to Prevent Sudden Death and Catastrophic Injuries Within High Schools: An Update. Am J Sports Med. 2021 Oct;49(12):3372-3378. doi: 10.1177/03635465211031849. Epub 2021 Aug 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 34398720.
  2. Grundstein AJ, Scarneo-Miller SE, Adams WM, Casa DJ. From theory to practice: operationalizing a climate vulnerability for sport organizations framework for heat hazards among US High schools. J Sci Med Sport. 2021 Aug;24(8):718-722. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2020.11.009. Epub 2020 Nov 28. PubMed PMID: 33281092.
  3. Scarneo-Miller SE, Lopez RM, Miller KC, Adams WM, Kerr ZY, Casa DJ. High Schools' Adoption of Evidence-Based Practices for the Management of Exertional Heat Stroke. J Athl Train. 2021 Oct 1;56(10):1142-1153. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-361-20. PubMed PMID: 34662417; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8530428.
  4. Adams WM, Hosokawa Y, Casa DJ, Périard JD, Racinais S, Wingo JE, Yeargin SW, Scarneo-Miller SE, Kerr ZY, Belval LN, Alosa D, Csillan D, LaBella C, Walker L. Roundtable on Preseason Heat Safety in Secondary School Athletics: Heat Acclimatization. J Athl Train. 2021 Apr 1;56(4):352-361. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-596-20. PubMed PMID: 33878177; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8063667.
  5. Scarneo-Miller SE, Casa DJ, Yin S, Moore TE, Murata Y, Register-Mihalik JK, DiStefano LJ. The Precaution Adoption Process Model in Describing Emergency Action Plan Adoption. Int J Allied Health Sci Pract. 2021;19(2).
  6. Kerr ZY, Register-Mihalik JK, Pryor RR, Pierpoint LA, Scarneo SE, Adams WM, Kucera KL, Casa DJ, Marshall SW. The Association between Mandated Preseason Heat Acclimatization Guidelines and Exertional Heat Illness during Preseason High School American Football Practices. Environ Health Perspect. 2019 Apr;127(4):47003. doi: 10.1289/EHP4163. PubMed PMID: 30969138; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6777902.
  7. Scarneo SE, DiStefano LJ, Stearns RL, Register-Mihalik JK, Denegar CR, Casa DJ. Emergency Action Planning in Secondary School Athletics: A Comprehensive Evaluation of Current Adoption of Best Practice Standards. J Athl Train. 2019 Jan;54(1):99-105. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-82-18. Epub 2019 Jan 24. PubMed PMID: 30676786; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6410982.
  8. Scarneo S, Adams W, Yeargin S, Konz M, Potter J, Casa D. The Prevalence of Secondary School Sport Safety Policies within State Athletic Associations and Legislation. Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2020/01; 18(4). doi: 10.46743/1540-580X/2020.1961.
  9. Scarneo-Miller SE, DiStefano LJ, Singe SM, Register-Mihalik JK, Stearns RL, Casa DJ. Emergency Action Plans in Secondary Schools: Barriers, Facilitators, and Social Determinants Affecting Implementation. J Athl Train. 2020 Jan;55(1):80-87. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-484-18. Epub 2019 Nov 22. PubMed PMID: 31756132; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6961650.
  10. Scarneo-Miller SE, Belval LN, Yeargin SW, Hosokawa Y, Kerr ZY, Casa DJ. Exertional Heat Illness Preparedness Strategies: Environmental Monitoring Policies in United States High Schools. Medicina (Kaunas). 2020 Sep 23;56(10). doi: 10.3390/medicina56100486. PubMed PMID: 32977387; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7597963.
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