by C. GARRETT KEIDEL, Asst. Sports Editor
Technology in sports medicine is always growing as doctors and scientists continue to find ways to help athletes recover better and in healthier ways. In the Manhattan College Sports Medicine department, techniques like electric stimulation therapy and the Graston technique are used to help keep athletes in the best possible environments for recovery.
At the basis of every sports medicine department are the staff members that work in order to treat athletes who are currently injured, or help with preventative treatments as well. The college’s sports medicine is committed to giving athletes the best and most advanced treatments available in the John “Doc” Johnson Training Center.
“Manhattan College employs six certified athletic trainers who work tirelessly to assist student-athletes,” reads the description of the training center on the Go Jaspers website. “While Manhattan’s athletic trainers are essential in the treatment of injuries, even greater value comes from their ability to prevent injuries and ensure that Jasper student-athletes are competing in a safe and healthy environment…Manhattan’s sports medicine staff is aided by a wide range of equipment for the prevention of injuries and the rehabilitation and conditioning of student-athletes.”
Student-athletes at Manhattan have a wide variety of resources and treatments available to them through the training center. The college has made a large commitment to athlete health and safety.
“We have a plethora of tools available to us,” said Associate Athletic Director of Sports Medicine and Athletic Performance, Doug Straley. “We have the availability of whirlpools, electric stimulation units, class 4 hot laser, compression units, ice, heat, Graston Technique tools, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, treadmills and stair climbers. With what we have we’re pretty self-sufficient.”
One of the most recent technological additions to the sports medicine arsenal is a game-ready Med4 Elite plus unit. This new machine allows for a more comprehensive and flexible treatment option for student-athletes at Manhattan College.
“It is a cold and heat compression unit that can alternate back and forth between the two,” said Straley. “In past years if anyone wanted to do any sort of contrast with heat and cold, they would have to get into the baths and do it. But now we have the ability to put someone in zip up boots from their toes up to their hips and put them on this unit for 20 minutes. It can alternate between 110 degrees and 41 degrees back and forth about every 20 seconds.”
Electric Stimulation Therapy and the Graston technique are methods also used by the sports medicine staff at Manhattan. Electric Stimulation Therapy can be used to help with pain moderation in patients as well as having some benefits in patients who are postoperative, preventing strength loss.
“The Graston Technique is what we call instrument-assisted manual therapy,” said Simon Jiries, a graduate assistant in the sports medicine department. “The way that works is the tools have bevels in them, and they help with getting leverage. They begin to cause what’s called micro damage to the area. Basically what that does it help get blood flow to the area and that’s what allows for injuries to heal.”
Technology in sports medicine continues to grow every day. The college continues to search for new ways to help athletes get what they need, and educate those in the training center on how to use updated techniques and technologies as they are introduced.
“I see it on a yearly basis when we go to our convention,” said Straley. “We go to our trade show and see all the updated pieces of equipment they’re selling. I think engineering, science and technology is taking a huge step in sports medicine. I’ve seen a lot of that change in the last 25 years since I began in this profession. The human body heals differently from person to person, and the process of healing can be different as well. The use of the advanced technologies in the training center aren’t necessarily an attempt at healing faster, but rather an attempt to place the body in the best environment to have the greatest effect on the healing process as a whole,” he said.
“One thing that the college has always done for us is that if there is a new form of a modality that we can use, they’ve always been very helpful and aggressive in getting us the funds to keep us on the cutting edge,” said Straley.