Sports technology making UW-La Crosse student-athletes healthier

When it comes to being an athlete, one top priority comes to mind: staying healthy.

“I think it’s helpful in the fact that I can analyze myself as a player,” UW-La Crosse Eagles centre-back Katie Feller said.

Mayo Clinic Health System sports medicine physician Dr, Andrew Jagim recently started using GPS technology to track workout loads for the UW-La Crosse women’s soccer team.

“There isn’t a lot of data available for the Division III athlete itself,” Jagim said. “Certainly not a lot in female collegiate sports which is kind of exciting to be one of the first groups.”

Jagim is using POLAR technology that gives data about an athlete’s heart rate, distance traveled, workout intensity among other factors during a practice or game.

“That transmits signals to an iPad than can present live data on the sidelines for the coach or anyone on the sport medicine team that can kinda review that live feedback,” Jagim said.

The technology also tracks an athlete’s recovery, sleep and nutrition habits.

The athletes wear heart rate monitor straps underneath their uniforms, which not only sends the information to an iPad, but also to an app for the players.

Feller finds it convenient.

“Sometimes I forget I’m wearing it,” Feller said.

Eagles head coach Jason Murphy says the technology is all for the better.

“It allows to put players in a position to be more successful because we know what their bodies’ telling them as their bodies telling them that,” Murphy said.

Once the season is over, Jagim is going to use the data for future research, and eventually plans to publish it.

“There’s a lot of different information that we can kinda look back to after the season to look at any different trends or relationships between any of those different variables,” Jagim said.

And Feller says it’s important to look at the big picture when it comes to sports and health.

“Not just to break it down to okay women’s soccer needs this and football needs this. I think the correlating aspects between sports are really interesting,” Feller said.

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