Can we predict future injuries of athletes? The technology and wearable clothing available today are on the way there.
Injuries are part of the life of a professional and amateur athlete and are in fact a form of risk to anyone who deals with it. It doesn’t matter if you are a super athlete, a weekend runner or one who visits the gym twice a week, all it takes is one fall and you are disabled for an extended period of time. While there is no magic to prevent injury, there are ways to minimize the risk of injury. Using technology in general and wearable technology, in particular, is one such way. The world of professional sports has long adopted the technologies developed to help prevent injuries and speed up recovery time.
Gramin is one of the prominent manufacturers of running watches for a variety of sports and has the Gramin Connect platform that analyzes our performance in real-time. The watch display shows recovery times at the end of each workout, the trainer’s body heat, and the average heart rate during the workout. The app shows one parameter which actually drains all the parameters into one exact result that shows if the workout is good or not – VO2 MAX.
VO2 MAX actually measures cardio fitness and maximum oxygen consumption. This is a figure that refers to the maximum amount of oxygen a person can utilize during intense exercise. This measurement is considered to be the best indicator of cardiovascular fitness and cardiovascular endurance in athletes. Theoretically, the more oxygen we can utilize during high-intensity activity, the more ATP (energy) can be produced.
All the information obtained from the watch and chest strap was analyzed in real-time and displayed on the watch and app.
Another great example of an accessible accessory that helps prevent injury is the HUMON HEX. This is a venture that actually started as research at MIT and turned into a product along the way. It is the first wearable sensor of its kind in the world, which measures the amount of oxygen in the muscle and helps athletes optimize their strengths, minimize injuries, and track training progress. The sensor is infrared to measure oxygen in the muscles. LEDs emit light to the muscle tissue and several detectors measure the intensity of light as it propagates through the muscle. The sensor allows you to monitor muscle fatigue after each workout and help you decide how to adjust your workout. The sensor signals when the muscle is warm enough to start an activity and a variety of critical indications for proper and healthy exercise. The sensor interfaces to a dedicated HUMON app and other wearable accessories like Apple and Gramin and sends real-time analysis of the information, including comparative statistics, in a convenient graphical display for the app.
Sensoria has based its wearable sensors on a very disturbing and surprising statistic: it is estimated that about 75 percent of runners suffer from at least one injury once a year. To address the problem, Sensoria has created a clip-on accessory that controls a set of sensors that are implanted in shoes and socks. The sensors are designed to evaluate how the runner is run to prevent injuries. The sensors measure the number of steps, how the foot hits the ground, how long the foot touches the ground at each step.
All information is sent in real-time to the Sensoria Run app, which provides insights for more accurate real-time training and not just raw information.
One of the most innovative things that SESORIA has created is a virtual shoe cabinet with over 8,000 shoe models, of which the trainee can choose the right shoes for him according to the information provided by the sensors. The app actually analyzes the data and recommends the most appropriate shoe for the same runner to prevent unnecessary injuries. She also warns about the level of wear of the shoe and recommends a new pair.
In summary, the growing popularity of the running and cycling industry, the rising costs in the professional sports industry, and the direct cost of athletes’ injuries to groups have motivated massive investment in research and development of auxiliary and preventive technologies for the benefit of athletes. This, combined with meteoric advancements in quality and hardware cost, analytics, and artificial intelligence capabilities, gives us a great opportunity to continue our workout routine without unnecessary injuries.