For patients who are serious athletes or who have had a history of sports injuries, injury prevention is often a focal point. Advances in technology can now pinpoint where an individual might have a greater risk of injury, allowing injury prevention specialists to prescribe exercises that reduce this risk. For an athlete, learning exercises that may help prevent certain injuries — while strengthening areas of the body that are underdeveloped — not only reduces injury risk, but strengthens their game.
Utilizing data to prevent injuries
SIPRx processes over 300 measurements in order to put together a specific and comprehensive sports injury prescription for the individual athlete. In the interest of advancing care and combating the growing prevalence of injuries to young athletes, The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention (TMC) has developed the Sports Injury Prevention Prescription — known as SIPRx. Created by Felix Wang, TMC’s lead software developer, SIPRx combines historical data and client information with measurements taken in-person at The Micheli Center. The program processes over 300 measurements in order to put together a specific and comprehensive sports injury prescription for the individual athlete. Included in this prescription are injuries that the athlete is at risk for, as well as exercises that can help reduce risk.
Currently, TMC has assessed over 5,000 athletes, using various programs such as injury prevention evaluations, 3D throwing and golf analysis, gait (running) analysis, and ACL injury measurements for return to play evaluation. Much of the information gained from these assessments has been included in the more than 100 journal articles published involving The Micheli Center, as data gathering and clinical practice become even more intertwined.
Preparing for the future
“The amount of information that is going to be available in the next few years is going to explode, and we’re preparing ourselves for that explosion — and for the public’s expectation of that as well,” explains Corey Dawkins, program administration manager and injury prevention specialist at TMC. “If we just stay stagnant and take the traditional physical therapy measurements without starting to include some of these new technologies, our clients won’t believe that they’re getting the best service out there.”
These new technologies include everything from focused, athlete-specific pre-appointment surveys to a 3D pitching analysis that was featured in Sports Illustrated. SIPRx was developed to advance injury prevention but also carries the added benefit of enhancing performance for many athletes in their respective sport. SIPRx provides them with focused exercises that help build up dimensions of their game that they lack.
“The point of our measurements is first and foremost to reduce injury risk. But most of the exercises we give them will also help them out with their performance,” says Dawkins.
With clients that range in age from 5-years-old to over 80, the specialists at The Micheli Center understand that not everybody’s goals are going to be the same. While the majority of clients are looking to get back into their specific sport or activity, some simply want to be able to workout and stay healthy without any pain.
Support from the IDHA
…the fact that they’ve merged their clinical expertise with the technology is probably what is most compelling about this for Boston Children’s”
Some of the many participants that went through SIPRx assessment this past year were a few of the members of Boston Children’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator (IDHA). The IDHA is new branch of Boston Children’s that focuses on advancing health care through combining data analysis and technology with clinical expertise. Their Accelerator Grant application process has received over 300 applications in the past two years, with many of these projects raising Seed and Series A funding. The SIPRx program was a finalist for one of these grants, and although it ultimately did not receive a monetary award for technology development, the IDHA has continued to support The Micheli Center and the SIPRx program.
“There are some other competitors out there that do this on a commercial basis, but the fact that they’ve merged their clinical expertise with the technology is probably what is most compelling about this for Boston Children’s,” explains Matt Murphy, the Innovation Lead for SIPRx at the IDHA.
For injury prevention specialists like Dawkins, SIPRx is also more than just a commercial endeavor. “Our primary goal is to reduce the number of injuries we see in athletes,” Dawkins says. “Because despite 30 to 40 years of sports medicine research, injury prevalence is just getting worse by the year.”
With this goal in mind, The Micheli Center is continuing to collect data from the athletes that go through their injury prevention programs — improving the lives of individuals while generating publications that benefit athletes everywhere.
Learn more about The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention.