the rise of medical technology in sport

Smart mouthguards are used to control concussions

The high-contact nature of sports like rugby can lead to concussions in players. Over the years, this can lead to serious consequences, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head trauma. Symptoms of CTE usually don’t appear for years after injury, but are known to afflict veteran players in contact sports like boxing, soccer, and martial arts.

Now, smart mouthguards capable of detecting head injuries could help athletes with concussions in the field receive more accurate care in the moment, avoiding more serious problems down the line.

A team of engineers and neurosurgeons from the Cleveland Clinic spin-off company, Prevent Biometrics, have developed the Prevent Impact Monitor (IMM) mouthguard, which can detect potential concussion-causing impacts in real time. The mouthguard measures the distance, angle and force of any blow to the head and illuminates to indicate that brain damage may have occurred on impact. The data is made available via Bluetooth on the mobile app and Web Prevent Team for later review, and line staff can see the results of all connected players on their teams in real time.

By placing the impact tracking device’s sensors inside the mouth at the center of the skull, Prevent IMM and other similar devices, such as the OPRO +, get a much more accurate picture of the forces involved in an injury to the skull. head than other devices. Trackers attached to helmets or to the skin behind the ear, for example, can move independently from the rest of the head during impact, providing data that does not always correspond to the injury caused.

The Prevent IMM system has a 5% deviation from the baseline and has been granted nine US patents and 12 international patents.

Smart insoles allow runners to go faster and reduce the risk of injury

Poor form when running can do more than slow an athlete down – it can actively lead to injury. Think pulled hamstrings, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis. However, it is difficult to assess your own technique on the move, and people often have no idea that the way they run is potentially harmful to their health.

Smart insoles could offer a solution. Biomechanics company Nurvv has developed Nurvv Run, shoe liners that contain biomechanical sensor technology designed to help runners improve their posture during exercise.

The insoles use 32 high-precision sensors to capture data about a runner’s cadence, stride length, kick, pronation and balance to compose a complete picture of their running technique. Each sensor takes 1000 foot readings per second to provide simple, actionable information to the wearer.

The tips teach them how to improve their form before, during and after each race to improve their performance and reduce their risk of injury. With a Running Health score on the Nurrv Run Coaching app, Nurvv users can identify potential issues before they lead to serious long-term health issues.

Nurvv also comes with two GPS trackers allowing users to trace their favorite racing roots. The system can be connected to iOS, Android, Apple Watch and ANT +.

MRI enables fast, quiet and quality sports imaging

Muscle, bone and joint injuries are naturally common in high performance athletes. When these are severe, they can mean months of absence from the field for incapacitated players, which can affect the performance of the whole team.

Medical imaging is often used to assess the extent of these injuries and to give the most detailed assessment possible of how to manage and treat them. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is currently one of the most common ways to examine images related to sports.

Manchester United Football Club uses Canon Medical Systems UK’s Vantage Galan 3T MRI for health monitoring. The system is designed to provide sharper, clearer images of injury sites to help soccer players and their doctors make decisions on how best to manage their treatment.

The system was supplied to Manchester United as part of their partnership with Canon Medical and allows injured footballers to enjoy quieter and more comfortable scans. This is due to Canon Medical’s Pianissimo and Pianissimo Zen technologies, which significantly reduce noise in and around the MRI machine.

The Vantage Galan 3T offers a maximum gradient amplitude of 45 mT / m, a sewing speed of 200 Rx / m / sec and uses the exclusive Pure RF Rx and Pure RF Tx technology significantly increasing the signal to noise (SNR) of the machine.

Scans can be further enhanced with ForeSee View, a tool that previews cut planning in real time and is particularly useful for areas of the body that are difficult to scan, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is a ligament in the knee joint that is often torn in football due to the rapid changes in direction and sudden stops of movement made by players.

Manchester United’s MRI facility also includes EasyTech Cardiac’s CardioLine +. The app is designed to accurately and automatically identify all right and left heart valve planes, making it easier to perform heart exams as part of the player’s daily routine.

Artificial intelligence helps people manage musculoskeletal injuries

Athletes who have sustained significant injuries, whether occupational or occasional, may need physiotherapy to get back into shape. Digital therapy company Kaia has created smartphone-based physiotherapy treatments for a range of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, meaning recovering athletes can perform necessary exercises from the comfort of their own homes.

Users of the Kaia Health app can watch video clips covering basic MSK pain information, as well as mindfulness and muscle relaxation techniques, but the app really makes sense through physical therapy exercises.

Users perform physiotherapy exercises at home while the app uses a 2D motion tracking algorithm through their smartphone’s front camera. The algorithm then gives them real-time audio feedback on their performance. A 2019 study found that patients who used Kaia’s motion tracking technology reported significantly lower pain levels than patients treated with traditional physiotherapy.

An in-app chat tool also allows users to speak directly to a physiotherapist if they are still having difficulty with the algorithm instructions.


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