Athletes experience injuries far more than an average person would. They can encounter brain trauma, concussions, broken bones, and more. Injuries don’t stop there too. Players can suffer from lifelong physical trauma that can prevent them from advancing in their careers. That’s why research and development for new protective wear are a priority in the sports industry. Researchers use cutting-edge technology to detect the early onset of injuries and find new ways to prevent them. Listed below are select equipment from which all athletes can benefit.
Advanced Protective Equipment
Improvements to existing protective equipment are regularly introduced in the sports industry. New features aim to prevent accidents in the game and shield the player from any harm. Hence, high-tech clothing is now worn during official matches to avoid unforeseen circumstances.
High-tech Mouth Guards
A mouth guard minimizes concussion by protecting the athlete’s teeth, tongue, jaw, lips, and cheeks. However, this isn’t enough for most injuries. After all, some sports, like football, can involve strong, blunt forces to the head wherein a regular mouthpiece won’t be enough for protection. Thankfully, there are advanced features that new mouth protectors use that can protect the athlete better.
Some of these features are:
- There are custom-fit mouth protectors that consider your sport, gender, build, and impact level. These custom-fit mouth protectors also have better breathability than their on-the-counter counterparts.
- Vertical Force Protection mouth protectors help stop athletes from grinding their teeth during exercise or while they’re asleep. Like custom-fit mouth protectors, this mouthguard uses 3D scanned imagery of your teeth to ensure proper fit.
Helmets are one of the most common ways to protect athletes from getting head injuries. However, the traditional foam used in helmets may not be capable of protecting all damages. Hence, helmets with smart-foams are now making a scene in the sports industry. Developed by Jake Merrel, smart-foams are foam-linings that can determine the impact of a hit. This data will then be sent to a smartphone or computer and contains valuable insights such as the hit’s force, acceleration, and velocity. Coaches can use this data to prevent further complicated head injuries.
However, that technology is too advanced for entry-level sports games. Hence, helmets with shock absorbers are recommended instead. These helmets release air that inflates the protective inner lining when a blunt force has hit the helmet. Helmets with shock-absorbers are great to reduce the chances of a concussion and prevent further injuries.
One of the emerging technologies in protecting players is the Q-collar. The Q-collar is a newly introduced protective collar that aims to stabilize the brain by applying pressure to the jugular veins. By targeting the correct veins, the skull’s blood volume increases; this helps lessen brain movements that can cause brain injuries when suffering from an impact. The Q-collar protects damages that helmets don’t cover.
Sensory Technologies for Injury Detection
More and more inventions to prevent injuries that detect any early signs of injuries through sensors are made. That’s why there has been a boost of wearable protective equipment embedded with sensors. These wearables are best worn during training to analyze the athlete’s unique situation. Furthermore, the sensors help in calculating risks and potential injuries in the sport. Take note, wearables with sensors are banned from official matches.
Running is a massive part of every major sport. From practice sessions to the actual game, athletes are expected to run for hours or more. Consequently, experts devise smart socks to gather insights on the athlete’s foot strike, rhythm, and weight distribution. Coaches will then use the data to detect any unusual findings and check for upcoming injuries.
Another footwear accessory sensor used in injury detection is smart insoles that measure the athlete’s force and pressure to prevent injuries.
Advancements in wearable technology enable trainers to measure the player’s heart and breathing rate, heart rate variability, posture, activity, accelerometry, impact, jump heigh, flight time, and more in real-time. Advanced clothing, such as the Zephyr Performance System, aims to further hone the athlete’s training by providing caloric burn, heart rate recovery, training intensity, and physiological load. All in all, smart clothing can help coaches determine the athlete’s fitness improvements throughout their training.
Smartphone Apps that Teach Sports Injury
Using an application to prevent injury may sound farfetched, but it works. Reputable apps, such as Get Set Smart Trainer, provide clear and concise instructions on performing specific exercises and workouts. The videos in the app specifically target injury prevention ways to move the body and are beneficial for athletes without any coaches to teach them.
Sports are fun and exhilarating, but alongside it comes the danger it poses. Injuries aren’t uncommon in professional games, and some impairments can lead to disabilities. Hence, it’s more important than ever to focus on the players’ safety and use proper protective equipment to prevent unwanted circumstances.