Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Using Cutting-Edge Technology to Help Elite Athletes Prevent Injuries

Elite runners will soon make their way to Boston for Marathon Monday, but many have already made a stop at one local hospital to ensure they are ready for race day.

“It’s what will get them to the start line, and hopefully get them to the finish line,” said Irene Davis, Director of the Spaulding National Running Center.

At Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, the center is a place for research and diagnosis. Using cutting edge technology, they conduct a physical analysis of a runner, recording their form on a treadmill from various angles. A sports medicine team then reviews the footage and figures out what each person needs to change to improve form and avoid injury.

“It’s not an easy fix what we do,” explained Davis. “As you do this more and more and more, you start to see things that are patterns in the relation between someone’s mechanics and their injury.”

The program has proven so successful that the NBA has even taken interest in how it could help elite basketball players.

A study funded by the NBA and GE Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Collaboration will allow Davis and her team to evaluate how fatigue impacts the way players jump, land and ultimately get hurt.

“Our goal, whether it’s a runner, elite basketball player or any other athlete, is that they learn how to move in a better way,” said Dr. Adam Tenforde, Director of Running Medicine at the center.

A typical analysis at the center takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. The hope is that after athletes understand the problems, they will use suggested exercises and methods to fix them for the future.

“I think we all should be able to run as long as we want to run,” Davis said, “And that’s our goal.”

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