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How Modern Technology Helps with Injuries and the Healing Process

Jay O'Connor-

There is new technology being worked on and developed every day and that development brings in new opportunities to deal with injuries in sports.

Jon Mitchell, Director of Athletic Training Services for men’s basketball at Appalachian State University, has been in the field of sports medicine and athletic training for around 25 years and believes the field is constantly adapting to the way technology is evolving.

“Technology has changed drastically, communication is the first ground. Everybody has a phone on their hip and that communication allows us to talk with the student athletes, talk with physicians and providers and share this information over multiple platforms,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell thinks that such easy access to the internet is beneficial in this field today as well. With this access, athletic trainers are much more easily able to find medical records of their athletes in order to give them the care that they need.

While the advancements in communication technology make talking between trainers, players and physicians much faster and easier, there are newer pieces of tech that can help doctors, physicians and athletic trainers more accurately diagnose injuries.

Claire Davis, Assistant Athletic Trainer for women’s basketball and men’s and women’s tennis at App State, discussed some of the newer devices being used in sports medicine.

“There have been some small changes in treatment modalities. We have also started utilizing more computer-based tools for concussion testing and tracking. Injury diagnosis technology could include MRI, X-ray and CT scans,” said Davis. “Physiologically we know your body heals on a timeline, so modalities and technology doesn't necessarily speed up that [healing] process, but we are trying to create the best possible environment for healing.”

Davis went on to explain some of the technology that she has been using that helps her diagnose players.

“Most commonly we are using X-ray and MRI’s to diagnose. Sometimes we will also use a bone scan which shows bone mineral density or DEXA (Duel-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scans which can show body mass index and types of tissue present in the body,” said Davis.

Davis prefers to use manual and hands on techniques when it comes to rehab exercises for her players, but the technology being used to diagnose the players help Davis have a much clearer understanding of how she can approach her player’s rehab.

Both Davis and Mitchell agree that the field of sports medicine will continue to change and grow with the continuous advancements in technology in the field.

“It will continue to adapt and evolve and change. I think the athletic training field is going to develop into more of a medical based model. Not necessarily in a doctor’s office but having that credibility of those people,” said Mitchell. “I’m not saying we have the same credentials that these physicians have, but we know what we are doing. We can facilitate getting the athlete or patient to the right person to get the care that they need.”

“The goal in this field is always to return athletes to participation as quickly and safely as possible. I think moving forward everyone will continue to look for those ways in which we can speed up recovery and give our athletes and teams an advantage,” said Davis.

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