Lifewatch: Injury prevention technology

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

COLUMBUS, OH (WECT) - Hollywood technology is helping scientists prevent injuries in athletes.

The equipment that helps action heroes jump from tall buildings and dodge disasters in movies is now being used to help athletes.

The high-tech system shows players how to make subtle adjustments to their technique, keeping them off the bench and on the field.

Baseball player Jimmy Gerlach's work out is more specialized towards his needs after a surgery from an injury left him out of the game for months.

"I went back to throw another pitch and my arm just started ripping from when I started my motion, and then I couldn't stop it, and from there it just tore all the way through," said Gerlach.

To prevent Gerlach from suffering another injury, researchers at a bio-mechanical lab put reflectors on his body to track his every move.

They are high speed cameras that work with 3-D tracking computers to pick up subtle motions the human eye can't see when he pitches.

Doctors can record the motion and then examine parts over and over.

"The pitching coach could just watch him throw, but it's hard to see everything. You don't have the right angle to see things necessarily. You can't slow it down, so we get all of that from this type of  3-D analysis," said Dr. Ajit Chaudhari, the director of biochemical research at Ohio State University Sports Medicine Center.

"By actually increasing his arm slot and by looking at that mechanically here in the lab, we actually can make sure that the arm is staying high, taking stress out of the shoulder and elbow itself," said Physical Therapist Chris McKenzie.

Knowing what to change will help Gerlach's arm and career last longer.

The technology can also help runners, soccer players, and golfers.  Researchers want to use the equipment to help patients with injuries function better.

To learn more about OSU's Sports Medicine Center, click here.