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Ohio State Goes High-Tech with Sports Medicine Research

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Posted: 5/13/2008

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While high speed cameras, 3-D motion tracking computers and strategically placed reflectors seem like something from Hollywood, researchers at Ohio State University’s Sports Medicine Center are using them to break down subtle movements that give clues about why some athletes are at greater risk for injury.

Ajit Chaudhari, director of biomechanical research, oversees the new biomechanics laboratory, a state-of-the-art facility advancing the most cutting-edge injury prevention and performance enhancement programs. The facility is designed to simulate real-life sports environments and includes a pitcher’s mound, golf tee box, batting cage and running track.

“We have the same kind of equipment used for special effects in movies like ‘The Matrix’ and some of the popular video games,” said Chaudhari. “By understanding motions and loads, we can identify athletes at greater likelihood of injury or disease, and assure that our training and treatments are effective.”

Doctors place reflectors at various points on a patient and using specialized cameras, they record split-second movements on a motion-sensing floor. This data is fed into a computer and doctors use it to detect even the slightest risk of injury.

“The human eye cannot see these movements, because they’re just so quick,” said Melissa Converse, lead physical therapist at the Sports Medicine Center’s endurance medicine clinic. “So being able to use the camera to slow things down really helps us see what is going on.”

While the technology can help runners, soccer players, golfers, and baseball pitchers, it could help recognize subtle injuries in a variety of patients. Researchers hope to expand their work beyond athletes to see how workers move when performing tasks such as in an office setting or manufacturing facility.

Research participants are being accepted in a number of areas including knee injury prevention, golf performance and injury prevention, and core stability training. More information can be obtained by e-mailing research@sportsmedicine.osu.edu or by calling (614) 293-2246.

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Doug Flowers
Medical Center Communications
(614) 293-3737

Martha Morehouse Medical Plaza; Orthopaedics; OSU Medical Center; Sports Medicine