How Smart Blades Will Reduce Figure Skating Injuries

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ELMIRA, NY (WETM) — Every four years, winter sports are showcased on the international stage at the Olympics, but a Southern Tier professor is researching new technologies to make an Olympic sport safer.

Professor Deborah King of Ithaca College’s Department of Exercise Science and Athletic Training is working on smart blades, which add momentum and force sensors to regular ice skating blades. The sensors detect the force skaters exert on the ice during jumps, spins and tricks. Data collected by sensors can show where force is being generated and help coaches, coaches and athletes avoid overuse injuries.

“With figure skating though, we don’t really have a sense of the magnitude of the loads that are acting on the skaters,” Professor King explained.

The Southern Tier professor partnered with researchers at Brigham Young University to create and test these blades in the lab. She says this project started in the 1990s when she worked with US Figure Skating between her masters and doctorate. studies. Meanwhile, coaches said they wanted to know more about how their skaters generated force, so Professor King started thinking about how technology can help.

“It was really fascinating to figure out how to measure all of these things on the skaters’ ice and then work with the coaches to interpret the data,” Professor King continued.

At this point, Prof King says this technology is for injury prevention only, not for competition and judging.

As a figure skating enthusiast, Professor King pays close attention to the Olympic programs, including men’s, team and women’s competitions. By examining take-off, vertical axis and landing, experts are able to understand why skaters complete certain elements and why they may miss others.

The slides Professor King is creating will allow coaches and skaters to improve tricks by analyzing how athletes jump off the ice and how they land.

“With the load moving up the body, it goes from the foot to the ankle to the knee and up to the hip. All of these joints are where you see a lot of overuse injuries in skaters,” the professor concluded. King.

The next step in his research is to test the blades in a non-laboratory setting so the technology can provide reliable results in real-world skating scenarios.


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