SPRINT takes gait analysis on the road

A valid, affordable and portable system capable of analysing running gait is the objective for an Australian Catholic University project that was among 15 recipients awarded $2.8 million via the Victorian Government’s Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program.

ACU’s Sports Performance, Recovery, Injury and New Technologies Research Centre (SPRINT) will collaborate with international industry partner Springbok Analytics on the project, the focus of which will be to create individual, holistic models of an athlete’s movement.

These models will leverage existing methods as well as cutting-edge technologies to support sport science practitioners in identifying how risk of injury may be related to running kinematics.

“This approach could be a game-changer which effectively slashes the time it takes to assess locomotion by taking reliable science out of the lab and placing it in the hands of the practitioner,” SPRINT director David Opar said. “A valid system such as this would have huge potential across the sport and health sectors.”

The current gold standard approach to measuring and monitoring human movement is Optical Motion Capture (OMC) which requires a specialised laboratory and highly skilled staff to collect and analyse the data.

Dr Opar and research partner Dr Silvia Blemker, co-founder of US-based Springbok Analytics, will use Inertial Measurement Units (IMU) to collect data and pair this with Springbok’s first-of-its-kind MRI post-processing technology to develop 3D individual-specific models of human locomotion that take into account variations in muscle morphology of the lower limbs.

“We think this will provide a clearer picture of what that means for internal loads experienced by lower limb muscles,” Dr Opar said.

The 12-month study will call on 20 healthy male and female participants aged between 18 and 40.

It is among numerous research projects underway at SPRINT, a world leader in advancing knowledge in sports performance and recovery and a key collaborator in research partnerships with the NFL, the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and AFL premiers the Melbourne Demons.

The Study Melbourne Research Partnerships support major research projects between 11 Victorian public institutions and international industry or institutional partners from 12 countries, including South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Vietnam.


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