Avoiding the Strikeout: SportsHELP is on the Way

Neuroscience Research | November 1, 2018 | cookchildrens

In pediatrics, we often say, “Children are not small adults.” This adage holds even more truth when we talk about how their bodies move with sports and activity. The growth and development of a child’s body poses unique challenges to avoid injury, gain strength and improve performance. Through the use of advanced video and motion analysis technology, the Motion Lab team at Cook Children’s Jane and John Justin Neurosciences Center seeks to improve the evaluation and treatment of child athletes.

SportsHELP (Health, Endurance, Longevity, Performance) – With the increase in highly competitive youth athletic programs, there has been an increase in sports-related injuries. Youth athletes often concentrate on a single sport, which results not only in repetitive stress to certain joints and muscle groups, but also fails to strengthen other groups, which may help avoid injury. Currently, youth athletes are evaluated using datasets comparing them to elite adult athletes. This may not be appropriate due to the ongoing development of the pediatric musculoskeletal system. In order to help our youth athletes remain healthy and perform at their optimum level, a database that characterizes normal athletic movement through childhood is sorely needed. SportsHELP is designed to establish an age-controlled normative database for baseball pitching and golf driving to be stratified from ages 8-21 years. Participants in this study must be healthy with no injury that might affect performance in the prior year. Data from this study will be used to assess athletic performance and injury evaluation in children. The goal is to apply this technology to other sports in the future. Lindsay Luker, PT, DPT, is the lead investigator in this effort.

A second set of normative data will provide a detailed model of foot movement. Healthy feet are important for walking and running. The dynamic anatomy of the foot can be affected by injury, diseases and perhaps most importantly, by obesity. Changes in foot performance can result in pain and decreased mobility. There is currently no age-established normative data for foot movement. The Motion Lab team will evaluate normative data for children aged 4-18 years to provide better understanding of how the foot is affected in various disorders, and devise improved interventional strategies for treatment. Mary Pfeffer, MPT, is the lead investigator on this project.


For more information or to inquire about participating in these studies, please contact the Cook Children’s Motion Lab at 817-347-2544.

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