If you've watched a day of football games this year, chances are you've seen your fair share of injuries. It's inevitable. Each year sports get faster, quicker, and more powerful. Players are getting stronger earlier and coming back from injuries quicker. And all wrapped up in the middle of this evolution of sports are companies designing new jerseys, new helmets, new shoes, and now, new technology to track performance. Sports are on it's way to a revolutionized game, one that allows coaches and medical staff to track everything from heart rate, movement speeds, and even CNS function. But here's the kicker....very few teams are using these tools.
Numerous articles and research studies have come out with how much injuries cost team's bottom lines. Take for example my passion, basketball. The NBA last year lost a combined total of $358 million to players injuries. My beloved Lakers alone lost $44 million to injuries! What gives? Isn't sports performance training and rehabilitation getting more advanced? The answer is yes, but there is also a lot of bad information out there that becomes gospel-like.
This is where things become interesting. Tools like Omegawave that can help the medical staff understand the players recovery and stress levels, and GPS systems like Catapult can measure biomechanical fatigue. But too much of this data's potential is untapped really. I mean, its really a lot at one time. Imagine getting all this input daily during the course of the season. You can get scatterbrained with it. After all, its impossible to train everything in one day, yet many try to do it anyway.
So where does this leave us? One thing is clear: sports physical therapists, performance coaches, and athletic trainers will all be using this data to optimize recovery in athletes. When prices drop, the innovative therapists will use these tools in the clinic to program rehabilitation on a weekly basis. The eyes can only see so much and we can only ask so many questions to gauge our athletes' mood/stress levels. An athlete may say they feel great or want to do more, but our Omegawave system may tell us that their stress levels are too high from that lack of sleep the night before or that girlfriend they just broke up with. An ideal future would be where physical therapists and sports performance coaches merge to use these tools and help make sense of all this data. An ideal future would be team owners realizing that if they spent just a little more on medical staff who were innovative and willing to put in the time to use the technology, they might just get a better product. An ideal future would be physical therapists and strength coaches working together in a team environment to prevent injuries better.
It's a fun time to be in sports medicine. It'll be interesting to see how these systems shape the future of rehabilitation and performance.
See more information on Omegawave here and here.