Tech trains more powerful athletes

CIO | Aug 17, 2015

Northeastern University has invested heavily in technology to reduce injuries in its athletics program. The suite of high tech gadgets have helped in eliminating costly ACL injuries. Reporter: Nick Barber, IDG News Service, @nickjb Producer: Peter Ruecktenwald, IDG.TV

When our athletes first arrive to campus we’re going to try to create a baseline, a biomechanical baseline as well as an energy system baseline. Where are they performing? We rely very heavily on technology to do the 3 sets of testing there. The biomechanical stuff we’re going to use the video and laser analysis system, the Optojump and that’s going to give us a good idea of how this athlete is producing power, how they’re recovering from that and at which point they’re fatigued.

So no different than a marksman. The grouping of that is what really matters and if we see the variance of anyone of those areas then we know we’re having a breakdown in the neurological pattern and the coding and sequencing. We’re not using the same muscles. It’s not fully relaxing, we’re creating drag some place.

We’re getting a breathing profile on these athletes right away. We know that the breathing is the best way to regulate the autonomic nervous system and if there’s ways we can improve the breathing we see all three of those areas: biomechanics, energy system and power abilities improve.

One of the things we’ve started to do is prescribe our loads based on velocity and there are different ranges just as there are based off of different percentage charts. We can look at what adaptation we’re trying to create. Is it strength, is it strength speed, is it true power. All of those things have different velocity ranges. We create a power curve using the tendo analyzer based on the power of the movement and the velocity of the movement and we’ll track that and create a power curve and we want to see that power curve and that velocity slope increase.

It was easier to see how I got better. A lot of these tools made you better but you could also see where you improved, where your flaws are and build upon it. (smooth this section out, awkward cut) I’m a hockey goalie so a lot of lower body power, moving laterally, things like that. Having those numbers, having that data to see where your strength and speed numbers are definitely helped me improve. We’re all competitive people so you want to get the top score on whatever it was so create a little competition as well.