BOSTON—Standing beneath a halo of 20 infrared cameras and outfitted with dozens of spherical reflective markers attached to his body, the pitcher winds up, breathes, and releases a fastball. What happens next appears more like a scene from the set of the latest James Cameron movie than sports medicine. The pitcher’s 3-D image is combined with video from four high-speed cameras to form a digitized full-motion version of the pitcher suspended in a three-dimensional grid viewable from any angle. It’s not Avatar, it’s the MassGeneral Orthopaedics Sports Performance Center, opening today next to Gillette Stadium at the Brigham and Women’s/MassGeneral Health Care Center at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass.
This state-of-the-art facility combines the most advanced 3-D biomechanical imaging technology with the clinical expertise of Mass General’s staff of orthopaedic surgeons, physical therapists, biomechanists, biomechanical engineers, performance trainers, nutritionists, athletic trainers, and coaches to help athletes recover from and prevent injury as well as improve performance. Although the 3-D motion images excite the eyes, the real star is the data. Sets of markers worn by the patient represent the pitcher’s body parts to create accurate measurements of speed and forces across joints of the body. This analysis allows clinicians to assess how each part of the body moves. More than a stunning image, it’s like looking at an entire 3-D puzzle at once instead of the separate pieces provided by static 2-D images like an X-ray or MRI.
“The MassGeneral Orthopaedics Sports Performance Center represents the most comprehensive combination of technology and clinical knowledge available,” says Center Director Eric Berkson, MD, an MGH orthopaedic surgeon and Red Sox team physician. “The technology we have here allows us to view the whole body motion in three dimensions and from that data we are able to develop specialized training programs for injury recovery or maximizing athletic performance.”
Although uniquely suited to assess and prevent injury for any sport, at any level, the center also has created specific programs designed to increase performance in baseball players, golfers and runners. Be they amateurs or professionals, daily competitors or weekend warriors, athletes of all ages can benefit from individually designed performance programs that can guide return to play after injury or aid in strength and flexibility improvement.
“We hope to continue using this technology to learn more about how the human body moves and experiences physical stress as we investigate ways to improve patient care and outcomes,” says Berkson. “The information we garner from the center will help athletes and patients get back to the highest levels of sports participation.”
For more information or to book an appointment, please call 888-959-9288 or visit www.MassGeneralSportsPerformance.org
Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the United States, with an annual research budget of more than $750 million and major research centers in AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, human genetics, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, transplantation biology and photomedicine.
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