Using gait analysis via OptoJump, SRC helps injured athletes return to their respective sport producing impressive results
(Bellevue, Wash.) – Sports injuries are inevitable. The way those ailments are treated determines how quickly and effectively athletes return to compete. With its innovative technology like Alter-G and OptoJump, the Sports Reaction Center physical therapy clinic attracts elite and professional athletes from near and far.
Founded by Neil Chasan in 1997, SRC’s clients include world class triathletes, rugby and soccer players, and long-distance runners, as well as multiple athletes who have qualified for the Track and Field Olympic Trials. In addition, NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball players have also sought out SRC for help. Elite athletes flock to SRC for the expertise of Chasan and his team, and the company’s cutting edge technology, which includes Alter-G and OptoJump.
Developed in Italy, the OptoJump is what Chasan calls “analysis technology which blends race timing and light gathering technology with video offering data about how the foot interacts with the ground” that allows SRC to examine the way athletes behave and function. The technology features an optical measurement system composed of a transmitting and receiving bar, and two video cameras. The data collected from the patient permits the software to document symmetry that with the video allows the therapist to analyze performance and formulate personalized rehabilitation plans.
OptoJump provides information regarding asymmetries in runners for instance, and also provides details about their power, acceleration, step length and pace. This data helps runners improve their performance, and helps coaches formulate specific coaching points. For instance, Chasan worked with the University of Washington Pole Vaulting team to help the coach provide instant feedback to the athletes regarding step length data at launch.
“Humans are ordinarily unable to differentiate between the details of athletic performance because those movements occur significantly faster than our eye can “see”. Now with Optojump we can “see” at shutter speed of 1/250th of a second with video and we also collect data, such as step length and contact-time, about their actual performance, too,” Chasan said. “This is a case where a picture really is worth a thousand words. Armed with this video and the data that accompanies it, we can now implement quick adjustments to help improve form and performance.”
OptoJump was recently used to study athletes at the Championnats de France Indoor 2011, where the world record in the Triple Jump was set by Teddy Tamgho.
Runners from Club Northwest’s track and cross country teams are among SRC’s clientele. OptoJump’s capabilities were especially illustrated with what Chasan was able to accomplish with a 36-year-old Club Northwest Elite Team member who is a successful 5,000 meter competitor. The female runner first saw Chasan in February 2011 suffering from non-specific hip pain that hampered her performance. She had visited numerous physical therapists, chiropractors and medical doctors, but she was frustrated that the pain lingered in her right hip and her race performance suffered.
“Her physical exam showed a very subtle local weakness of her right hip muscles that most people who tested her did not pick up, but even so I was skeptical that this subtle weakness could account for her complaint,” Chasan said. “She was a fit and healthy woman aside from the pain she was experiencing during her running, and other than this very subtle weakness in one muscle group the physical exam did not reveal any other problems, so I understood why her previous attempts to identify the source of her pain were unsuccessful up to that point.”
Chasan next performed a functional performance tests using OptoJump.
“We performed a series of tests including a gait analysis, and several dynamic tests, comprised of single leg jumps, lateral jumps, acceleration tests, and stop-and-go tests,” Chasan said. “Along with the data that OptoJump provided about her asymmetry, the video analysis of those various dynamic functional movements and her gait illustrated that she was actually failing to support her pelvis in the frontal plane under her body weight.”
“The subtle weakness we found during her physical exam in a non-weightbearing posture actually became a profound functional deficit that interfered with her ability to perform at full capacity during full weight bearing,” Chasan added.
Chasan explained the results of the gait analysis and the dynamic tests to the woman, who finally understood the etiology of her symptoms as well as the importance of the exercises he recommended. A few months later, the runner told Chasan that she had recently PR’d running her best 5,000-meter performance in years. Without OptoJump, which shows function at shutter speeds of 1/250th of a second and records data in milliseconds, SRC would have been unlikely to uncover her issue, and she would have continued to feel frustrated about her performance, Chasan explained.
About Sports Reaction Center
Based in Bellevue, Washington and attracting athletes of all levels from the Bellevue, Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond areas – and around the United States – Sports Reaction Center (SRC) was founded by Neil Chasan in 1997. SRC performs sports physical therapy services that incorporate innovative technology like OptoJump and NASA-developed AlterG as well as concussion management and biomechanics. SRC’s clients also include multiple athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Trials in Track and Field as well as marathoner Mike Sayenko, Olympic hurdler Virginia Powell, and NFL and Major League Baseball players. The clinic also works with area organizations like Club Northwest, VO2 Multisports and the Seattle Rugby Club. A graduate of the University of Washington’s physical therapy program in 1982, Chasan is a consultant to the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Rugby Sports Medicine, the author of the book “Total Conditioning for Golfers,” and the creator of the video “The Swing Reaction System.” A clinical faculty member of the University of Washington’s physical therapy program since 1990, Chasan teaches and consults with physical therapists around the world.