Sports Injury Prevention Could Save Leagues Millions of Dollars
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Sports fans love data. Gobbling up data helps people win sports pools at work and predict top contenders with some degree of accuracy. Performance stats aid us in determining who the most valuable players may be — but, as we’ve seen in recent years, teams can be devastated when the big guys go down.
Derek Jeter’s ankle, Kobe Bryant’s knee, and Peyton Manning’s neck didn’t just cost their teams a few hard losses, but also big money. According to Fast Company, Major League Baseball teams spent $665 million on the salaries of “banged-up guys” last year. NBA teams lost $358 million last season — including $44 million spent by the injury-riddled LA Lakers alone! In the NFL, where salaries start at $2 million, top players missed 1,600 games in the 2013-2014 season.
Here at The Center For Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine, we emphasize sports injury prevention and employ the latest techniques to relieve pain and expedite healing. While acute fractures and freakish concussions will be inevitable on occasion, we hope to see a major shift toward minimizing injury within the sports leagues — not just to save a buck, but to ensure the longevity of the players’ careers as well.
Sports Teams Turn to Technology to Assess Injury Patterns
The Toronto Raptors (NBA) wear a device called the OptimEye, which calculates data such as acceleration and deceleration rates, elevation and jumping ranges, impact force, cardiovascular indicators, turn rates, and intensities. Alex McKechnie, the team’s director of sports science, says the system allows them to tailor programs specifically to each player’s physiology to correct strength imbalances and injury-inducing movement patterns before they even become a problem. For example, a plantar fasciitis injury often occurs in athletes whose calf muscles are weak.
Team leaders also get a closer look at how their demands impact the players’ bodies. One time, the coaches found out that a low-stress workout was unexpectedly taking a heavy toll on the players’ bodies due to jumping motion deceleration, so they tweaked the drill-shooting workout slightly to make it less challenging. The results paid off handsomely. The Raptors were the least injured team in the 2013-2014 season. Even so, it still cost the franchise 68 games and over $3.4 million in salary expenses!
Other High-Tech Systems Used to Track Sports Injury Analytics
In addition to Catapult’s OptimEye, there are similar systems:
– European soccer leagues use the Omegawave tracking system, which monitors electrical impulses in the body to detect sluggishness before working out to protect against overtraining and overuse injuries.
– SportVU cameras capture a number of instantaneous play-by-play statistics for the NBA and NFL, including ball tracking, speed and distance data, passing details, touch breakdowns, and more.
– The PITCHF/x system reveals pitch type, velocity, and movement to protect MLB pitchers from burning out.
With systems like the OptimEye running teams $100,000 a pop, one has to wonder if there isn’t a more cost-effective way to prevent injuries. We argue that there most certainly is — and it involves working closely with sports medicine professionals to ensure team health and success. We offer a lot of the latest technology at our NYC sports medicine centers so teams needn’t invest in all that expense themselves. It’s a win-win!
NYC Sports Medicine Experts
The Center For Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in NYC aids amateur and professional athletes with gait analysis and biomechanical assessments. Our state-of-the-art technology identifies areas of weakness or structural shifts that will likely lead to injury if left un-addressed. We house a full team of certified sports medicine doctors, podiatrists, surgeons, and specialists who use the latest technology to mitigate acute pain and get superstars back to the sports they love in the shortest amount of time. Book your appointment in Manhattan or Westchester NY today.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.