Engineering athletes: The making of a multi-million dollar player

The Indianapolis Colts finished 2-14, and with stats like that, it is hard to believe their quarterback is paid the highest salary in the NFL. Peyton Manning will take home $23 million for a season in which he did not even play due to neck injuries. That is why the pros are working so hard to engineer a better athlete. One who runs faster, throws farther, and is hit with fewer injuries.

While many young competitors strive to play professional sports, few actually make it. Devin Goda is just one of those athletes hoping to make it big. As a wide receiver at Slippery Rock University, Goda says that making it to the NFL is, “Definitely my top priority and dream.”

Goda's time in the forty yard dash has dropped from 4.75 seconds to 4.38 seconds. That fraction of a second saved puts him on par with the best wide receivers in the game. He did it by improving one step and one movement at a time.

Ron DeAngelo is an expert in sports bio-mechanics. He and his colleagues train athletes to move in the most efficient way possible. DeAngelo says, “In reality, we all move the same way." He and his team use breakthrough technology of specialized computer software to analyze performance.

The same breakthrough technology is also keeping the pros on the field longer and with fewer injuries. The Atlanta Falcons, a high performance team with one of the lowest injury rates in the NFL, never underestimate the power of motion.

Several times a year, every Falcons player undergoes functional movement screening. Seven specialized tests scoring between zero and three identify limitations in strength and motion from left to right and head to toe before they cause injuries.

Jeff Fish, Director of athletic performance for the Falcons, says, “If you do have an asymmetry and if you do have a restriction, that's going to eventually break down."

To prevent that breakdown, customized therapies target each player’s unique risk factors. The healthy movement score becomes a benchmark for healing.

"We want our players to be healthy and durable and be able to contribute to our success through the course of the whole season,” explains Fish.”

Better mechanics, sharper science, and breakthrough technology is fast-tracking players towards their dreams.

Motion analysis is not just for professional athletes. Movement screening is now available through certified personal trainers all over the country to allow weekend warriors and fitness enthusiasts to test their own efficiency of motion and improve performance.

RESEARCH SUMMARY

SPORTS BIOMECHANICS: Biomechanics is the study of the structure and function of biological systems by means of the methods of "mechanics.", which is the branch of physics involving analysis of the actions of forces. Within "mechanics" there are two sub-fields of study: (1) statics, which is the study of systems that are in a state of constant motion either at rest (with no motion) or moving with a constant velocity; and (2) dynamics, which is the study of systems in motion in which acceleration is present, which may involve kinematics (i.e., the study of the motion of bodies with respect to time, displacement, velocity, and speed of movement either in a straight line or in a rotary direction) and kinetics (the study of the forces associated with motion, including forces causing motion and forces resulting from motion). (Source: exercisephysiologists.com)
FMS: Functional movement screening (FMS) is a musculoskeletal assessment method that incorporates seven movements and yields an overall score based on movement quality (Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE: New technology called movement screening is making athletes perform at their max. This computer technology is making athletes stronger, better, and faster while preventing injuries from happening. The professionals train athletes by filming them while they perform and provide visual feedback on their techniques. The computer software analyzes the athletes and the trainer can tell whether the athlete is right on the mark. The trainers critic the athletes one movement at a time and then the athlete corrects one movement at a time. Also the technology can identify limitations in strength and motion before an injury could occur.

What it does exactly:
* Evaluates. The software identifies asymmetries and limitations in the athletes' performance, making more analysis and testing unnecessary.
* Keep's standards rising. The software keeps track of the athlete's improvement. It records progress and keeps working towards perfection.
* Safety. The software identifies movement that is dangerous and quickly addresses the problem.
* Corrects Strategies. The software can be used on any fitness level. It applies corrective strategies on various movement issues. The software can also identify specific exercises based on the individual's score to create customized plans of action (Source: functionalmovement.com).


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