Taking the “lab” out on the field

The Valparaiso University Human Movement Research Laboratory is now able to take the “lab” out onto the field with the Xsens MVN BIOMECH system. The flexibility of the data acquisition system and the simple set-up has helped our undergraduate research students start up new research projects based on their areas of interest.

One of these research students, Michelle Mottonen (BSME 2017), recently began such a study based on her experiences on the VU Women’s Soccer team.

Decrease the risk of injury and improve performance
The purpose of this study is to test and analyze collegiate soccer players to identify when and if the athlete is at risk for injury. The study is a 30-minute assessment that includes exercises both with and without the soccer ball. The exercises without the ball expose the athlete’s efficiency at moving (running), accelerating, and changing directions.

The areas of interest, in this case, are the athlete’s balance/center of mass throughout the trials, and joint angles of the hips, knees, and ankles. The exercises with the ball expose the athlete’s balance and coordination. The areas of interest, in this case, are primarily the center of mass and joint angles of the ankles.

The end goal of this study is to compare the data from the joint angles of interest to a previously defined set of joint reference angles recorded from non-disabled athletes. This data would provide insight on potential risk areas for soccer players, and allow the researchers to communicate these risks to the athlete in hopes of optimizing the athlete’s mechanics in the future. As soccer inevitably produces consistent hip, knee, and ankle injuries (not always as a result of contact with another player), then having this information available to players will hopefully decrease the risk of injury and improve performance by optimizing joint mechanics with and without the ball.

“We are excited to see what our student researchers come up with next and are enthusiastic about the possibilities that are only possible because of data acquisition capabilities of the MVN BIOMECH system.”
Craig M. Goehler, PhD. Director of the Human Movement Research Laboratory. 


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