Athos Perspective: Don Faul

It’s nearing the end of regular season and one of your best players is fresh off an injury. He assures you that with one game off, he can be back to finish out the season with the team. You are torn; thinking about the risk for reinjury versus making the playoffs. Will he be sitting on sidelines or able to contribute to your success? How do you have confidence in this decision thinking about his future career, the team’s win record, and your reputation as a tactful coach? A lot is on the line. You ping-pong between “Do No Harm” and “I am ready, Coach”, wishing you had more information to make the right decision. Irik Athlete Fist Bump Deciding when an athlete is ready to return to the field is complex and difficult and an exercise in risk management. While athletes and coaches may be thinking they are ready to return, reinjury rates are staggering. Athletes suffering an ACL tear (that requires surgery) are 6 times more likely to get injured again within 2 years than their healthy counterparts. This reinjury rate is directly related to the load placed upon the injured muscle (image below: Gabbett, 2016).

Acute vs. Chronic workload graph

Traditionally, coaches and athletes have relied upon intuition, general recovery rates and sparse data to make their return to play decisions.

Muscle activity based training load gets your injured players back in the game faster

With compression gear embedded with biosensors, Athos has developed a system that will allow you to put confidence back in your return to play decisions. This practical tool can help facilitate glute activation, quantify specific muscle activity and training load to ensure the best exercises are implemented, high volume training is monitored and post-injury compensation patterns are reduced.

Athos can be used to support return to play decisions through the following:

  • Creating baselines: Find baseline muscle contributions and balance for healthy and injured sides
  • Real-time Biofeedback: Use visual feedback during corrective exercises. Athlete looks for glute activation in real-time to promote the neuromuscular connection and reinforce recruitment of the glute.
  • Movement Memory: When visual biofeedback is removed, does muscle activation stay from corrective movements through dynamic movements?
  • Balance: See if asymmetries exist with particular movement and track how balance if affected by volume changes after injury.
  • Training Load: Ensure that the healing tissue is not being over or under stressed to validate that your rehab and progression plan is ideal for each individual athlete.

Gabbett, TJ. 2016. The training-injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder? British Journal of Sports Medicine. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-095788.

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