Case Western student researching device to Help Student Athlete Performance

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Updated: Dec. 10, 2018 at 4:04 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - FitBits and Apple Watches, for example, are popular wearable devices that many of us already have. But researchers at Case Western Reserve University want to push those devices further using the information they provide to help student athletes.

Samantha Magliato is on the Case Western Reserve University crew team. Part of her workout routine right now includes attaching a VivaLNK Vital Scout sensor to her chest.

“That’s where you can get a reading of your EKG, which shows the electrical activity of your heart,” Magliato explains.

Biomedical PhD Student Dhruv Seshadri monitors her real-time results on a mobile device. He wants to see if the data, her heart rate, stress level, performance and recovery rates, can translate into safer, more efficient training.

“It can really give us a full comprehensive understanding of the athlete and we can develop our own models to further translate this data, make value of it specific to the athlete,” adds Seshadri.

Specific ratios, Seshadri says, can even predict chances of soft tissue injuries, like a groin or hamstring pull. Right now they’re trying to pinpoint and hone-in on all of those formulas.

“Are you over training an athlete? Are you under training? Where is that sweet spot? Is it enough to be at your peak performance but not training too much?,” Magliato says these are all the questions they’re trying to get answered.

University Hospital and Case Department of Orthopedics Chair James Voos says wearable technology is becoming much more accessible and more affordable. He’s hoping research like this will better translate that technology to the medical field.

“The goal is to have these devices in the hand of the everyday athlete, whether integrated into clothing, a sensor on their wrist, or attached to the body, if they’re somebody on a weight loss program or high level marathoner, they can utilize this device to personalize their health,” says Voos.

The sensors were loaned to Case Western by VivaLNK for the research. Twenty rowing athletes at Case will wear them before, during and after workouts over the course of four weeks.

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