Dr. Sands' article in Sports Performance & Tech features ProAnalyst software tracking the gymnast shown below. View Article
This video of a gymnast performing a tumbling routine highlights a situation that all too frequently results in injury to young athletes. Dr. Bill Sands of East Tennessee State University has been studying the problem of knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion for many years in his work with elite gymnasts, including many Olympians and US champions.
Dr. Sands explains, "Gymnastics takeoffs are strange kinds of jumps involving rather minimal knee flexion and extreme ankle dorsiflexion. The extreme dorsiflexion ultimately, and too often, results in Achilles tendon ruptures." Dr. Sands believes that the problem is exacerbated by a second knee flexion occurring as a gymnast's heel contacts a spring floor that is "out of tune" with the jumping action.
As this gymnast performs a backflip, the two occurrences of knee flexion are shown in the video and the associated data graph. ProAnalyst was used to place a dynamic angle measurement on the knee, showing how the knee flexes when the toe and then the heel make contact with the spring floor apparatus. The ankle dorsiflexion is also apparent as the gymnast's feet contact the floor and press to take off again.
Working in a field that almost never permits markers on athletes, controlled lighting situations, or giving directions to the athletes, Dr. Sands likes ProAnalyst for its automatic and manual tracking capability and its simple procedures for calculating displacement, velocity, and acceleration. Through his research, Dr. Sands hopes to recommend improvements in spring floor design and better techniques and injury prevention awareness for competitive gymnasts.
In this video of a runner, ProAnalyst stick figure overlays reduce complex athletic motion to simple visualizations. View real-time annotations of distance and angle; measure position and velocity as motion is automatically tracked.