Recent Developments in Sports Medicine
In one of our first posts, we discussed the history of sports medicine starting with its origins in Ancient Rome. In this post, we take a look at some of the most recent developments in sports medicine. They offer a fascinating peek at the directions in which this relatively new discipline is moving and provide some insights into the potential advances in athletic performance that may result.
The field of preventive genomics is based on the collection and analysis of DNA information that will help scientists determine the training regimes or nutritional strategies that will reduce the risk of injury and extend peak athletic performance later in life. By sequencing and analyzing the DNA content of the cells of an individual, scientists hope to determine the exercise and nutritional regimes that most appropriate for the genetic makeup of a specific group of individuals. This field is only about a decade old but is attracting increasing research resources from governments, universities and think tanks in North America and Europe.
Use Of Sensory Devices & Wearables
Another of the recent developments in sports medicine that shows great potential for significant advances in the field has been the growth in the use of sensors and wearables to inform training regimes and keep athletes performing at their best. One of the key advantages of these devices is their ability to offer immediate feedback based on real time performance monitoring.
Currently, there is a plethora of devices that can monitor the performance of athletes under various stress loads and then provide actionable data to help them avoid fatigue related injuries and overuse injuries. For example, for athletes who do a lot of rope jumping (skipping) during training, one of the leading devices on the market shows when they are nearing an unsafe level of fatigue that produces an unacceptable risk of injury. Another device measures the baseball swings of a batter during training and provides data to help him optimize performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Some researchers believe that these developments in sports medicine technology will in the near future provide real time information to trainers and clinicians standing on the sidelines during matches. They will then be able to use this data to choose the optimal time to substitute a player in order to maximize the chances of victory and/or minimize the risk of injury.
Use Of Sensory Garments, Mouthguards & Helmets
Another exciting development in sports medicine has been the introduction of garments, helmets and even mouthguards with integrated sensory technology. Used in this way, sensory devices can provide real time data on the forces and impacts that the athlete is experiencing during training or competition. In contact sports like hockey or football, these data provide information on concussion or other traumatic injury risks and enable clinicians and trainers to take actions to reduce these risks.
In this post, we have summarized a few of the more exciting developments in sports medicine during the past few years and suggested the likely uses to which these advances may be put. In a future post, we will go into more details on the potential advances in athletic performance that may result from the exploitation of these new areas of knowledge.