Sports Medicine: Preventing Sports Injuries With Wearable Sensors
The health sector has witnessed some of the most groundbreaking discoveries in the past few years. Science and technology have proved to help mankind in the best possible way. A monumental discovery in the area of sports medicine is wearable sensors that are usually used by athletes to prevent injuries. The sensors are not only available to world-class athletes, but they are also available to anyone who wishes to prevent an injury.
Wearing this piece of technology helps enhance the athlete’s performance and reduces the chances of an injury. There are several types of sensors that enable the trainers to monitor the athlete’s data during practice and game sessions. They can be broadly categorized into movement sensors and physiologic sensors. Let’s have a look at the different types of sensors in detail.
A microcontroller can be thought of as a small computer that allows the world to be inside it. The monumental devices are capable of processing huge amounts of data. The device is portable and can be carried anywhere! The chip is mostly preferred due to its small size and functionality.
It is also quite cheap as compared to the other sensors. Certain design aspects need to be incorporated into the microcontroller to make them more user-friendly and efficient. Several programming languages can be used to program the microcontrollers. Moreover, microcontrollers don’t need devices attached to them. They can sufficiently gather information and monitor them.
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
You are probably familiar with the GPS in your phone or your car. The purpose of a GPS is quite simple. It helps with the navigation and location of objects or places. The GPS technology uses the data recorded by satellites and uses it to interpret the exact location of the object or place. GPS is widely used in team sports, where the Team Lead can easily locate their player and warn them in case of an issue.
The sensors are used to access different accelerations. The users can wear these gadgets and use them to monitor their acceleration. However, the devices do come with certain limitations. For example, depending on the version that you have bought. The accelerometer will only be able to monitor acceleration up to a certain limit. The data derived from accelerometers can also be used to evaluate the sleep pattern of the user. Therefore, proving to be of medical benefit to the user as well.
These types of sensors are mostly found in sports wearables that are focused on achieving a certain kind of lifestyle. You are probably aware of the smartwatches and the mobile application which calculates the number of steps. Pedometers are known to generate accurate information for users. Moreover, they are known to generate much more accurate results if they are worn on the waist rather than on the wrist. Data generated through pedometers can be used for the advantage of the players and to prevent overexertion and concussions.
- Pressure Sensors
As the name implies pressure sensors interpret the pressure applied into a change created in the circuit. These sensors are typically used to measure the pressure or strain the athlete is placing on either his feet or his hands. Gathering these values helps the players to understand which positions will help them improve their posture and which positions they should avoid preventing sports injuries. The pressure sensors can be easily embedded inside sportswear or equipment.
- Heart-rate Sensors
Measuring the heart rate of the athlete and generating results through the readings can help prevent a bigger issue. Heart rate monitors and sensors are of different types. The commonly used ones are in the form of electrodes that are in contact with the human skin. The sensors use wavelengths of light and administer through their absorption into the human tissue what the blood pressure of the person maybe then.
- Sleep Trackers
They are devices that track your sleep. Sleep trackers analyze your bodily movements and register whether you are asleep or not. It is important to analyze the sleep patterns of players. It helps understand the factors if they aren’t performing too well or if they are suffering from some kind of mental or physical disorder. Sleep trackers or sleep monitors are mostly embedded inside modern-day gadgets. An athlete who hasn’t had enough sleep or is continuously undergoing a sleeping disorder might be unfit to perform. In such a case it may even be dangerous to overexert the athlete.
- Temperature Sensors
Measuring the temperature of the athlete is important to diagnose certain medical conditions such as hyperthermia. An athlete who has an abnormal core temperature might be unfit for play. Temperature sensors are also important for those who practice playing extreme sports such as skiing. If you are skiing in Tignes or Supertubos surfing, it will be incomplete if you don’t have a reliable temperature sensor installed in one of your gadgets. A temperature sensor will measure your core temperature and warn you just on time if you are unfit to ski.
Leading sports gear companies such as Nike, Adidas, CATAPULT, Zephyr and many more in the line have developed gadgets that can be worn by athletes and sportsmen all over the world. The devices have sensors incorporated inside them that provide the users with essential data to analyze their mental and physical capabilities. Moreover, companies are still working on these wearables to maximize the benefits to those who are using them.
In most cases, the injuries that take place on the field are life-changing. The players are forced to undergo mental and physical trauma that follows after the injury has taken place. To avoid such a situation, it is crucial to take precautionary steps and measures. The new devices with enhanced capabilities can provide a much more relaxed environment for the players. They can experiment more without the fear of getting injured. The final goal of these devices to minimize the amount of sports injuries that take place on the field. Using the right sensors can help save lives and save players from immense psychological trauma!