If you think of each major sport, you can probably pinpoint the most frequent one or two injuries. In the NFL, you are likely to hear about torn ACLs and head injuries. Basketball injuries tend to focus on knees and ankles. And in baseball, injuries are most prevalent in shoulder and elbow joints.
While baseball has arguably lost its crown as America’s pastime, it continues to demonstrate its prowess for being the leader in technological and player developments. In what could develop into the best revelation for the sport since Moneyball, motion capture technology may become the savior of numerous player’s careers. Enter, Kinatrax.
Kinatrax is “an optical camera array capable of high speed and long distance capture,” explains Kinatrax’s website. “After recording a motion event, the data is transmitted to our cloud service for rapid processing via our GPU enabled servers. Our customers can then download the raw motion capture results and biomechanics reports through our user-friendly website portal.” Or, in short, Kinatrax uses markerless motion capture technology to track player’s, specifically pitchers, biomechanics. If successful, Kinatrax could provide teams with real-time analytics that may show the exact movements causing a player’s injuries.
The first team to implement Kinatrax will be the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays, a team often cited for its advanced approach to the game, are a natural fit to be the league’s guinea pig. With injuries to key pitchers Matt Moore, Alex Cobb and Drew Smyly the Rays have to be clamoring for any possible solutions to their rotational woes. In theory, had Kinatrax been in place this season the team would have been able to pinpoint the movements each player were making that caused the stress on their bodies–potentially saving them from long stints on the disabled list.
Hopefully Kinatrax will live up to expectations and cut down on serious injuries like the famed Tommy John elbow surgery that some pitchers now have as early as their teens. The injury became the buzzworthy injury of the league over recent years. Teams have feared the injury could stem from over pitching and/or mechanics. If successful, Kinatrax will have the answers for teams.
At this point, it’s unclear what the Rays will use the data for. Regardless, you have to think more teams will considering adding Kinatrax to their parks if the Rays hold onto their first place position in the American League East.
Image: Flickr/Keith Allison