Injury prevention is hand-in-hand with rehabilitation
For Professor Mark King, Lead Academic in Sports Biomechanics at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, understanding the cause of injuries and how to prevent them is a vital outcome. He comments: “The Vicon system tracks bowlers very well and is also portable – we’ve taken it out in the field to capture a more natural technique and improve the quality of data we’re capturing.
“We’re using this data to look at the bowling action and how the hips and shoulders move, influencing what’s happening in the lower back. We also look at the front foot and how it is combined with technique. The data that the system provides has not only helped us to reshape our knowledge of injury but also refine and enhance coaching techniques.
“On the back of this, we’re conducting a number of PhD research programs. The system’s modeling can help predict factors that drive pace or injury, which are then validated by the extensive research. This, in turn, is feeding into an important piece of work that’s under way to improve the future of cricket: an update of the ECB’s bowlers’ guidelines to help minimize injury risk.”
Other sports are also benefiting from the ground-breaking work at NCSEM. Paul Felton, former Research Associate at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, Loughborough University, said: “The NCSEM was built with cricket in mind and is a fantastic facility that enables research on performance and injury to inform the way the sport is coached and managed.
“The Vicon motion capture system allows us to understand the characteristics of bowling technique, but the repeatable process means that we can also apply it to other sports. A huge amount of research has been done in the main and CAREN labs around golf, tennis and badminton techniques, providing huge potential to further understand and improve sports performance.”