Tucked away behind an unassuming door at Visy Park, lies world-class technology, which is paving the way in injury prevention and athlete movement analysis.
The Bio Motion Centre consists of 14 cameras that track the motion of a player within the 68-cubic-metre capture zone. Data from those 14 cameras is sent to a vision processor computer, creating a digital anatomical skeleton or computer-image of the person moving inside the lab. From there, the data from the movement can be analysed and broken down into joint angles, joint forces and movement patterns, revealing deficiencies in technique, and any subtle changes that could lead to injury.
The technology was designed in America, to bring special effects to life in movies through computer generated animation. It has now been adapted for use in a host of other areas, including healthcare, and the military. The Carlton Football Club and other sporting codes including the NFL, NBA and MLB are utilising the technology for injury prevention and skill analysis.
The facility is the largest of its kind by volume in the world, and the only one being used for this purpose in Australia. In fact, the roof of the centre had to be raised, to accommodate the full stretch of ruckmen Levi Casboult, Shaun Hampson and Robert Warnock, to allow their ruck techniques to be analysed.
In the motion capture lab, players run on a treadmill and perform evasive manoeuvres on the specialised surface. Their motion through jumping, landing, and kicking can be carefully scrutinised for technique and biomechanics.
Sports Physiotherapist Sam Rosengarten, says the information can be used to identify areas of deficiency in movement, which might lead to injury.
“The player’s movement could be analysed and fed back to the strength and conditioning team, to ensure the players aren’t loaded too early, before they have satisfied certain lifting criteria.
"The technology is also being used to assess when players are ready to return from injury, and when their training load can be safely increased.
"With players like Andrew McInnes, who is coming back from an ACL injury, we were able to use the technology to monitor his running biomechanics and monitor his return of strength and power. It assists coaches in decisions regarding his return to training and games."
The Bio Motion Centre isn’t just being utilised by the Carlton Football Club. It’s open to the community and professional sportsmen alike, offering risk assessment and movement analysis to groups like the Wallabies Australian Rugby Union players. Local sporting groups, including the Banyule Netball Association, are also using the centre to prevent knee injuries in their young female netballers.
The technology has applications in preventing injuries in aspiring young athletes in a variety of other sports, assisting patients undergoing surgical rehabilitation, assessing gait disorders in children, helping prevent falls in the elderly, preventing lifting injuries in the workplace, and general running assessments in recreational athletes.
The Bio Motion Centre was installed at Visy Park in July 2012. It also houses a cutting edge tendon scanner called a UTC scanner, which is used by 12 of the 18 AFL clubs to monitor and prevent tendon injuries.
The facilities in the BioMotion Centre at Visy Park are available to the general public to book sessions. For more information see the website www.biomotion.com.au alternatively enquiries can be directed to the Carlton Football Club, or contact the Bio Motion Centre directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.