Well each year about 300,000 athletes will
tear their ACL, one of the primary ligaments in the knee, racking up five billion dollars
in healthcare costs. But On Your Side investigator Bree Sison tonight
reports that doctors right here in Birmingham are using cutting edge technology to prevent
those season ending injuries. They practice early and they practice hard.
The women soccer team at Samford University has four conference titles to show for their
efforts, but they also had eight athletes with torn ACLs in three seasons.
It’s more of just a shock because you know that you’re about to be side lined for, you
know, six months to a year. Senior Kaitlyn Orman doesn’t like to talk
about the second time she heard that dreaded pop in her knee.
The instant you hear that pop, what do you think?
A lot of bad words kind of going through your head and just, why, frustration, a rush of
emotions. But you understand this is what happened and there’s nothing I can do about
it. But what if there was something that could
be done before the injury ever happened? We really want to do as much as we can to
prevent them, prevent the injuries and keep them on the field. If we keep more people
on the court, on the field, our teams have a better chance of winning.
Good. There we go. It’s a very fatiguing test. I mean 99% of them will be gassed by the time
they’re done. They’ll be sore tomorrow. Samford’s athletic trainers teamed up with
Champion Sports Medicine to evaluate their players movements via small, portable sensors
that give instant feedback during an initial 20 minute test.
It may show something such as they have too much knee movement occurring during the landing
phase of a hop. If that’s the case and their knee is moving too far inward, we might give
them some corrective exercises to use a mirror for some visual feedback, or maybe they put
a band around their knees when they’re landing so it gives them a cue to push their knee
outward. In a year long pilot study, the data gathered
and customized workouts, worked. There were zero non-contact ACL tears among women soccer
players. And a 60% reduction in lost playing time for athletes.
Hop. Now physical trainer Nate Bower is hoping
to replicate those results in Samford’s basketball teams.
And that spreadsheet will actually tell us the amount of motion occurring in degrees,
it tells the direction, so it’s all in a print out that we provide to the athlete.
Bigger athletic programs and power conferences are using some forms of motion data, but Samford
is the only local school using this particular system for injury prevention. The Bulldogs
hope it pays off big in team wins and in insurance claims savings. Bree Sison WBRC Fox 6 News,
On Your Side.