Technology In The NBA Training Room

Jeremy Stierwalt, Jeremy Thomas Stierwalt, Blog Pic Basketball

By Jen Cohen Crompton, Published on December 9, 2013

Sports are infused with technology on so many levels – from the training room, to the field, and right into the coaches’ and players’ hands.  But, one of the most important uses of technology that is having the greatest impact, is the focus on enhancing athletic performance. Technology with this focus, pushes athletes to the limit, and can unlock their potential and bring them to reach new heights. However, sometimes the athlete’s competitive spirit results in them pushing their bodies to the limits, which can come at a price.Just as fans hate to see their favorite player on the injured list, no player wants to be benched because of an injury. Therefore, as technology is being developed to amp up an athlete’s game, it can also help get them back into the game when they’ve been plagued by an injury and are warming the bench.
And as all players know, getting back in the game starts in the training room. The NBA is embracing top-notch technology and equipment that will bring players back to the court as quickly, and efficiently, as possible.

Here are some tools found in the NBA training rooms focused on getting a player back in the game.

Anti-Gravity Treadmill

This treadmill is not like any other treadmill. These anti-gravity treadmills have a vacuum seal around the surface, and when combined with a brace skirt that slips on, the vacuum can alleviate between 20 and 80 percent of an athlete’s weight. This reduces the amount of weight and pressure the athlete’s legs must carry and it relieves stress on the body making it easier to rehab a lower body injury.

This machine also allows rehab to be more lifelike, and is a great way to maintain an athlete’s fitness level during recovery. Another bonus is that using the treadmill and staying off of uncontrolled surfaces eliminates the likelihood that the athlete will pick up bad habits to overcompensate for the injury. AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill® is one example of this treadmill and was created by NASA-patented technology.

Pneumatic Recovery Unit

The pneumatic unit pump is for the legs and generally helps with knee pain and/or injuries, which are common in the NBA. The device can treat all parts of the leg and once placed on the injuries leg, inflates air into large boots. The inflation provides the sensation of a massage and moves blood and lymphs through the leg.

One company, NormaTec, and its NTRecovery units have become the leader in this market and their product helps athletics during all stages of a workout:

  • Pre/Post Workout – Aids in faster recovery to increase performance
  • Injury Recovery – Has the ability to treat small and constant injuries
  • Post-Surgery Rehab – Heals injury faster and decreases pain

While almost every team has some type of this device, many teams take multiple on the road and some players even keep them at home to use more frequently.

Game Ready’s innovative ACCEL™ Technology (Active Compression and Cold Exchange Loop) also works with active pneumatic compression, along with cold therapies. Their system changes the pressure while circulating ice water throughout and takes icing to a whole new level. Game Ready, “mimics natural muscle contractions while cooling the tissue, helping the body to proactively aid lymphatic function, encourage cellular oxygen supply, and stimulate tissue repair,” all of which leads to quicker recovery.

Cold Lasers

Laser therapy is painless, non-invasive, clinically-proven treatment aimed to be highly effective at treating sports-related injuries. The biggest advantage is that this treatment has the ability to help in conditions where other therapies are falling short.

Laser treatment can be used to:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Relieve both acute and chronic types of pain
  • Speed up tissue repair
  • Increase the quality and tensile strength of tissue
  • Increase blood supply
  • Promote faster wound healing and clot formation
  • Stimulate immune system
  • Stimulate nerve function
  • Develop muscle tissue and collagen
  • Generate new and healthy cells and tissue

The downside is that while players like the immediacy and non-invasive nature of the process, the long-term efficacy is low.

Overall, technology will continue changing the game, but focusing on player performance and recovery is key since talent is what is needed to play the game.

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