UF athletes excel on the field – and in a laboratory

Published: March 25th, 2009

Category: Announcements, In Focus, InsideUF

If winning two national championships in three years doesn’t convince you that University of Florida football players are outstanding, then maybe scientific-based evidence will.

In addition to practice and attending class, University of Florida football players visit the UF Biomechanics and Motion Analysis Laboratory to sharpen and evaluate their top-notch skills.

Bryan Conrad, a UF department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation senior engineer, and other lab engineers use innovative technologies to perfect human movement. From assisting quarterbacks to working with cerebral palsy and other patients referred by Shands at UF physicians, the engineers touch many lives in extraordinary ways.

The engineers’ ground-breaking “Florida Quarterback Model,” a database of UF football athletic-performance measurements, benchmarks athletic success, Conrad said.

Chris Leak, former Gators quarterback, visited the lab numerous times while attending UF. Leak is one of five quarterbacks featured in the model.

“Before we developed this report, people would look at a player and say, ‘It looks like he is fast,’ but now we can quantify speed and other data,” Conrad said.

“The Biomechanics and Motion Analysis Lab is a tremendous resource for our trainers, strength staff and coaching staff. It allows our trainers and strength staff to analyze motion deficiencies that might cause future injuries and allows the coaching staff to evaluate an athlete’s technique,” said Urban Meyer, UF football coach.

The lab began operation in January 2005. Located at 3450 Hull Road, off 34th Street, the 2,500-square-foot room within the UF & Shands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute hosts 14 video cameras, two recently UF-patented robots and force plates that detect the power of motion.

The robots, developed by UF Mechanical and Aerospace Engineer Scott Banks, take X-rays of a subject’s bones while he or she is in motion, providing a more accurate analysis of the bone system in action, Conrad said.

“There is nothing like those robots anywhere in the world,” he said.

The lab is open to the public for analysis of any physical movement. For information on costs and appointment procedures, visit http://www.ortho.ufl.edu/index.shtml.


Bridget Brennan

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