Photo by Raymond Link ’20 | Alec Owen ’19 performs an overhead squat using the Virtusense Digital FMS to score his form.
By Jackson Moran ’21
For years, Brophy Athletics has been at the forefront of technological integration throughout every aspect of the sports program.
The Strittmater Sports Medicine Lab, located in Keating Hall uses high tech equipment to improve performance and form, communicate with fans and treat injury.
Many teams, as well as individual athletes, take advantage of programs, technology and equipment available in order to maximize their potential.
The Sports Medicine Program uses numerous technologies to prevent and treat injury, as well as teach proper form and give evaluations to students.
Mr. White spoke of the Anatomage Table, a virtual cadaver and human anatomy lab setup which arrives in the Sports Medicine lab in December. This technology is incredibly revolutionary, as it provides accurate anatomy and hands on dissection.
Only few high schools worldwide have one available.
It would enable Honors Anatomy students to become intimately familiar with realistic human anatomy and give them resources and knowledge to aid Mr. White at games and events.
Mr. White also uses the VirtuSense Functional Movement Scanner Pro to evaluate form while doing specific movements, such as an overhead squat.
According to VirtuSense’s website, it uses “advanced 3D motion analysis technology” to aid athletic trainers in evaluating athletes’ movements.
Mr. White uses this system to administer the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), but hopes to use it on a larger scale, possibly with entire teams.
The BodPod is another item in Brophy’s ever growing repertoire of tech.
“We’ve had the BodPod for seven or eight years now, so we do body composition assessment using air displacement plethysmography, a way to very accurately predict body fat and lean body mass,” said Mr. Chris White, head Athletic Trainer at Brophy.
“Thousands of athletes have come in and received help with their body composition through the BodPod,” said Mr. White.
Mr. White sees fit students from such teams as wrestling, crew and soccer coming in often, but hopes to see students who are “less fit” taking advantage of the BodPod, in order to get helpful suggestions and create a plan of action for getting healthier.
Mr. White’s largest job, as an Athletic Trainer, is to treat injuries incurred while on the field or court.
Concussions are a major concern of Mr. White’s, especially for football.
“We use a software program called ImPACT and we also use a balance test called Sway Balance, which uses an iPhone or an iPad, and does baseline assessment and then we can use it as a tool to assess balance after a concussion,” said Mr. White.
Baseline assessments provided by these tests help evaluate the pre-concussion mental state of contact sport athletes.
They do this by testing athletes with standard questions, and then retesting after a suspected concussion is received.
Then the results are compared, providing information to Mr. White about the athlete’s brain function after the concussion.
Technology is also used to support fans, keeping them informed about the latest Brophy sports news.
Social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are used to disseminate real time results and photos from games, both home and away.
However, each team has an individual handle, which often makes it difficult to keep up with each team’s posts.
A new app, which is currently under development, will better the fan’s ability to keep up with all of Brophy’s sports teams.
“I’ve been looking for how you transition and use the smartphone to promote your sports. There are a number of companies out there that are writing apps that can do that,” said Mr. Woods.
“If you can picture that somebody who used to go to a football game and buy a program so that all the players were on there. Well now, in theory, you could have that same kind of thing, but in an app,” Mr. Woods said.
The app would be a sort of “one stop shop,” as Mr. Woods said, for anything Brophy sports related.
Likely, this would also include rosters and schedules for each team, brief profiles on varsity athletes and results from recent games and interactive features, such as adding photos and tagging them to certain athletes.
While this new app provides fans with a way to stay connected with Brophy athletics results, it is often the technology involved in scoring and training, coupled with the restorative and preventative tech that’s available via the Athletic Trainers, that provides these results.
Technology helps greatly with digital scoring, often manifested in GPS trackers in the bibs that Cross Country or track runners use, or the touch pads in Brophy’s pool.
“At an ordinary track meet, you would have someone with a stopwatch, but at an invitational track meet that you would use to qualify for state, you’ll have electronic timing,” said Mr. Bill Woods, Brophy’s athletic director.
The swim and dive team uses touch pads in the pool to record accurate times during practice, and at home meets.
“It [Touch pads] helps dictate who touches first, they use it across the board, from high school up to the Olympics,” said Mr. Daren Brubaker, head coach of Brophy swim and dive.
Accurate electronic timing is incredibly important to the integrity of meets, as races often come down to tenths or hundredths of a second.
Video taping is also important to many teams, as it gives athletes and coaches a chance to go back and critically analyze performance, form and decisions made during a game or practice.
“Video taping, especially underwater, so they can see it on the screen and I can point out to my athletes what it is they need to change,” said Mr. Brubaker.
Mr. Brubaker also uses devices called “Tempo Trainers” during practice, “We use tempo trainers which helps with speed coming from the arms, as well as what to expect for 100 meter speed, 50 meter speed, all the way up to milers,” Mr. Brubaker said.
The football team uses a variety of film techniques to provide analysis to many different aspects of their game.
“For years there has been a system where they [Football coaches] input film into the cloud, and then they share it among the other coaches, and then you can tag that film to the point where it shows the passing plays and the running plays etc,” said Mr. Woods.
The film collectors range from student volunteers on the sidelines holding an iPad to drones flying above the team to capture aerial views.
All in all, Mr. Woods hopes to outfit the teams in a reasonable way that make sense based on the sport, as well as the resources available to the program.
Brophy’s sports tech resources have augmented efficacy on the playing field, provided new treatments and faster recovery in Sports Medicine and given fans a “one stop shop” for Brophy sports.