HIGH POINT, N.C., June 4, 2012 — Preventing injuries in high school and college athletes provides numerous benefits to both the athlete and the school — stronger players and teams, and lower health care costs, just to name a few.
Dr. Eric Hegedus, professor and founding chair of the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Sciences at High Point University, in conjunction with HPU’s I.T. Department, has developed Web-based software and an application for the iPad that may help coaches predict sports injuries in players before the injuries occur.
The app, known as the Targeted Enhanced Athletic Movement (T.E.A.M.) Screen App, puts athletes through fifteen routine tests that coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists often utilize. It translates the findings from each test into hard data that may predict what type of injury the athlete is most likely to develop in the future.
“For example, we have found that if throwing athletes have an asymmetrical lunge test, we know that means they tend to have shoulder pain,” Hegedus says. “For a baseball player, that means something, and it allows us to begin a plan to prevent that pain from ever occurring.”
Much of the data that the app collects and analyzes was previously collected on paper, which took a lot of time and resources and left a large possibility for human error. The app streamlines the assessment and data processing time, he says.
The technology has been fiercely sought out by other universities and health care companies, including Carolina Physical Therapy Specialists and Athletic Development in Kernersville, N.C., NovaCare in Akron, Ohio, and the University of Otago in New Zealand, giving the technology a local, national and international presence. In fact, Hegedus will travel to New Zealand in July to present the software there.
It has potential to expand even further, and Hegedus adds that it can be used anywhere — for local high school teams, professional teams, college teams, health clubs and more.
The app is currently in a pilot run both at HPU and at Eastern Tennessee State University, where they are testing it with 10 local high school students. Access to the app is available by request, and a finished product is expected to arrive in the coming months.
That’s good news for sports teams everywhere.
“If we can predict, we can work to prevent,” Hegedus says.
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. HPU was selected in the 2010-2011 list of “Colleges of Distinction,” as well as one of the top green schools in the country by the Sierra Club. The university offers 44 undergraduate majors, 40 undergraduate minors and 10 graduate degree programs. It is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at highpoint.edu.