Monday, October 17, 2016

If You Were A Formula 1 Car - What Would Your Mechanic Say? - Part II

Every day, we all see movements like this (presented here) in our young athletes, our mature athletes and in our professional athletes.  These are the same movements that put them at risk for injury and negatively impact their performance.  There are over 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries every year.  Over 70% of these are non-contact in orientation (no contact with another player or object).  It is movement patterns like these that, if identified could significantly reduce the athlete’s risk for injury and improve their athletic performance.    
Papers have been published as far back as 1998 indicating movements that put athletes at risk, so we know what to look for.  We know movements we can assess that will make these deficits more apparent, so we know how we should assess.  We know the anatomy and physiology that is at play that influences these movements, so we know how to train to improve.  So, why are we not combining all this knowledge to access athletes in a more rigorous and standardized way?  Is it just a lack of money and/or technological developments to aid us in doing this in a more efficient and reliable manner?   
Formula 1 team’s spend a tremendous amount of money on research and development as well as various technologies to aid them in their analysis.  They know how to use that technology to determine wind resistance, drag and compression ratios to ensure maximal performance of their car.  Without the technology, every mechanic might look at the care little differently and interpret the results slightly differently.  They may come up with slight variations here and there that, in the ends, results in a substantial difference in the results and ultimately leads to less than optimal outcome and performance.
In sports medicine, there have not been these same levels of technology developments to aid us in assessing our athletes to this same degree.  The technologies that are out there are often too inefficient to use in mass, too complicated to provide meaningful information and too expensive to use in an athletic setting.  Or is there a solution?  
In 2012, Weber et al presented at paper at the Biomedical Technology Conference looking at the use of the Microsoft Kinect v1 to Vicon System (the gold standard) for assessing frontal plane motion.  What they found was that the Microsoft Kinect v1 offered acceptable accuracy in its ability to capture and quantify frontal plane motion.  So this brings up an interesting point.  Can you use Xbox gaming technology (Kinect) to really analyze movement and if so, could this be used to assess for injury risk?  If this could, what a break through!  That is what Stone et al in 2013 set out to look at.  At their presentation at the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Annual Conference, they presented a paper comparing the Microsoft Kinect v1 to the Vicon System for its ability to capture and quantify frontal plane motion known to be associated with risk for an anterior cruciate ligament injury.  What they found was that the Kinect skeleton model had an acceptable accuracy at quantifying this movement. 
In October 2014, Microsoft released the Kinect v2.  This is a significant upgrade from the Kinect v1 (used in the previously mentioned studies).  The Kinect skeleton is based on several more joints and has an improved smoothing code which allows for even more accurate tracking of human movement.  Considering the previously mentioned research, we could then potentially program this to track movements we know put athletes at risk.  If we used the Microsoft Kinect v2 this would provide us with an affordable and efficient technology to assess athletes in a profoundly different way.    Is that even possible?
We believe so.  Welcome to the new evolution in movement assessment.  This short video clip is a preview of the 3D-DMA®, a complete evolution in movement assessment using the latest research integrated with the latest technology.  What you see here is just a very small portion of what this system does.  The point of showing this is not as an infomercial but rather to highlight the fact that we can, in fact, use technology to evolve the way we assess our athletes.  If combined with the right research and science, these tools should be able to profoundly impact injury rates in athletics and aid us in maximizing performance potentials.   
We hope that you found this blog insightful and useful.  If you like what you see, SHARE THE PASSION!  It is the biggest compliment you can give.  Follow us on Twitter @ACL_prevention and tweet about it.  #Evolve and help us spread the passion and #3DDMA.
Build Athletes to Perform…Build Athletes to Last!™
Trent Nessler, PT, MPT, DPT:  CEO/Founder ACL, LLC | Author | Innovator in Movement Science and Technology.  Dr. Nessler is a physical therapist and CEO/Founder of ACL, LLC.  He is the researcher and developer the Dynamic Movement Assessment™, Fatigue Dynamic Movement Assessment™, 3D-DMA™, author of the textbook Dynamic Movement Assessment: Enhance Performance and Prevent Injury, and associate editor for International Journal of Athletic Therapy & Training. For more information, please see our website at

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