Michael Whitely, right, of Painesville, wrestles with his trainer Jeff Streu at John Carroll University.
A retired Ashtabula County sheriff's deputy, Whitely, 50, is preparing to go to the World Police and Fire Games next month in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
You might think that a college wrestling room is an unlikely place to conduct a study on multiple intelligence learning theory in middle adulthood.
But it's proven to be an ideal setting for Painesville resident Michael Whitely
, who happens to be the focus of an MI learning theory study being conducted by Kent State University researchers.
For about the past six months, Whitely
has worked out a few nights every week with the wrestling team at John Carroll University
in University Heights.
During those workouts, he's
observed by his
personal wrestling coach and a neurologist, who are helping to record Whitely's
ability to reconnect neural pathways in his
brain that have gone dormant during his
In addition to the case study, the workouts are preparing Whitely
, 50, to wrestle next week in the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
"It's been a real hard road," Whitely said as he reflected on the wrestling practices and other physical conditioning he's done for the past six months, in addition to serving as an adjunct college professor for two Northeast Ohio colleges.
For Whitely, the road to enlisting in a three-year study on MI learning theory in middle adulthood began at Kent State, where he serves as an adjunct professor in educational psychology.
"About a year, year and a half ago I was talking to some colleagues who were working with me for a young adulthood video that was put together regarding my intelligences in my earlier life and so it was just a thought, let's relook at this and look how things change through the life course," he
"Let's now look at middle adulthood and see where your abilities may have changed, especially because you haven't utilized a good number of them for some time."
Whitely, who holds a doctorate degree in educational psychology, is the only person being analyzed for this particular case study.
"I always looked at it as I was a convenient sample," said Whitely, who also is an adjunct professor of educational psychology for ITT Technical Institute at three of its Northeast Ohio campuses.
said researchers also thought he
'd be a good study subject because of his
"eclectic" background and the fact he recorded careful observations about his
early life for the MI learning theory case study for young adulthood.
Back to the mat
Over the next three years, Whitely
will be tested in the nine different intelligences that make up the human brain, according to the multiple intelligence learning theory.
Those include areas such as logical-mathematical, verbal-linguistic and visual-spatial.
But right now, researchers are evaluating the 50-year-old for bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, and that's where wrestling comes in.
Whitely wrestled for Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, where he graduated in 1981.
After entering law enforcement in the mid-1980s, Whitely
eventually returned to the mat.
Representing the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office, where he worked as a deputy, Whitely won gold medals in the Ohio Police Olympics in 1990 and 1991.
To monitor his mental reconnections during wrestling practices, Whitely reached out to Dr. Dariush Saghafi, a Parma-based neurologist who is also assistant wrestling coach at John Carroll.
Along with compiling observations for the bodily-kinesthetic part of the study, Whitely
is using the practice sessions to sharpen his
skills for when he
competes in the 97 kg (or about 213 pounds) weight class for Greco Roman and freestyle wrestling at the World Police and Fire Games on Aug. 6 and 7.
Whitely, who retired from the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office in January to cap a 27- year law enforcement career, also will compete in some track and field events in Belfast.
"But my focus in on the wrestling," he