STRIVE | Is this the end of muscle injuries in football? Founded by a former basketball player, Nikola Mrvaljevic, the startup STRIVE has developed a tool to assess the functioning of muscles during exercise. | Source: Getty Images
What if it was possible to predict future injuries to football players? In any case, this is what the startup STRIVE offers, which has set up a tool to assess the functioning of the muscles of athletes during exercise.
At first glance, everything seemed to go well. The player, a key member of Leicester City Football Club (Premier League) first team was running as usual. He was passing, tackling and jumping for a header. However, inside, something was wrong. The data revealed that the player’s organism exhibited a mechanism of compensations (phenomenon observed when the body adapts to a dysfunction, mechanical or psychological) outside its normal range. Soon after, the player suffered a long-term hamstring injury.
The data that detected this problem came from STRIVE, a startup that put in place a tool providing information on muscle performance and fatigue. The Leicester City club are currently testing this tool and intend to use it to adapt the rehabilitation of the injured player. Indeed, this tool can contribute to the design of future training programs for an injured player, in order to avoid any recurrence of injury.
“The human body will always find a way to move. The eternal question is: is this the best way to do it? Is this the most efficient way? Is this the right way? Said Kevin Paxton , Leicester City Premier Team Athletic Development Officer. “If I can understand how the muscles of an athlete work, then I can understand if they are doing it in the best way or if they are just compensating to meet physical stress. If they compensate negatively, just to get the job done, and we keep asking them that way, there’s a good chance that sooner or later they’ll give up. It is therefore essential to observe the quality behind the athlete’s movement, and not just the movement. »
The movement of top-level athletes is a subject that Nikola Mrvaljevic , CEO and founder of STRIVE, knows perfectly well. A former professional basketball player in Montenegro, he remembers training four to five hours a day, six days a week. In 740, during a particularly trying mountain running session, he had a revelation: “I remember wishing my coach would understand how tired I was and how tired the whole team was. There were a few injuries that day. That was the trigger: how can we quantify the effort? How can we quantify fatigue? »
After moving to the United States and obtaining a degree in biomedical engineering and a degree in electrical engineering, Nikola Mrvaljevic founded STRIVE in 2016. According to him, it is “the only data device proven to optimize muscle performance in top athletes and teams. ”
” We can say that during the 12 Over the past few years, quantifying effort and fatigue has been my number one goal, ”explains the former basketball player. “Over the past five or ten years, a lot of people have turned to motion trackers, GPS, heart rate, but I always felt like muscles were the missing piece.
The tool developed by STRIVE works by applying sensors to compression shorts that collect live data on the hamstrings, glutes and quads. This data is then combined with the IMU data ( Inertial Measurement Unit ) to understand “the external and internal load. The data is then sent via Bluetooth to an app, allowing coaches and trainers to spot potential risks for each athlete and tailor future training or rehabilitation. The recently launched STRIVE Platform 2.0 is powered by Microsoft Power BI, which includes a data visualization model that coaches can customize for each player.
Among sports teams that use this technology, we find Manchester City (Premier League), Orlando City SC (MLS), Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS), Baltimore Ravens (NFL) and Kansas City Chiefs (NFL).
According to Nikola Mrvaljevic, muscle performance is a “new metric” and some teams had to be convinced of its importance: “The world of human performance, if I had to trace its origin, started with GPS, pedometers and trackers. Then we moved on to heart rate and understanding internal load. Now muscles are the next step. ”
Nikola Mrvaljevic explains that STRIVE does not predict 20 % injuries. This tool can detect symmetries and potential abnormalities in the muscular performance of an athlete and highlight them for coaches. For example, the tool can show that an athlete’s right hamstring is strained much more than his left hamstring. Continuing to put more strain on this muscle would inevitably lead to injury. “We are moving towards a world of injury forecasting. Coming soon. For now, I like to say that STRIVE manages the risk of injury, ”explains Nikola Mrvaljevic.
If the interest in clubs is obvious (protecting their players, and therefore their assets, against injuries and speeding up their recovery when injured), players themselves are increasingly interested in data relating to their own performance. For example, if Nikola Mrvaljevic and his former teammates had had proof of their fatigue to show their trainer by 740, he might not have pushed them so hard. Perhaps there would have been less injuries.
“I created this company as an athlete, it was the state of mind. I have met enough athletes who have retired, either voluntarily or because of injury, to recognize that the problem is real, ”said the former basketball player. “When we launched STRIVE five years ago, we were working specifically with coaches. But today we are seeing more and more players, especially the younger ones, who feel helped with the data, analyze it and understand its potential. They understand that they cannot be satisfied with a career of 12 years. You need to be proactive about it. »
Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Robert Kidd
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