Nobody likes to get injured. For most of us, it means pain, inconvenience and a decrease in our ability to do the activities that we enjoy. For an athlete, though, an injury can mean far more. It can become lost playing time, a competitive disadvantage to your team, the derailment of years of preparation and even the end of a career that’s been a lifetime in the making. Injury prevention and an efficient, rapid return to play when an injury occurs are of paramount importance to athletes and coaches. The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) is used by physical therapists and athletic trainers to reliably assess an athlete’s vulnerability to a lower-body injury. The SEBT can identify dynamic balance deficits in people with a variety of lower extremity conditions and is responsive to changes caused by training programs for both healthy and injured people (1). As a tool for the prediction of injury, research using the SEBT has found that athletes with an anterior right/left reach distance difference greater than 4 cm were 2.5 times more likely to sustain a lower extremity injury. Athletes with a composite reach distance less than 94% of their limb length were 6.5 times more likely to have a lower extremity injury (2). This means that the SEBT can help a coach identify an athlete with a high probability of future injury, and then track their progress as they follow a training program designed to improve their movement patterns and make them safer and more resilient. The SEBT is a relatively straightforward process, but it requires the collecting and processing of a lot of data, as you can see in this video: After kneeling on the floor and scrambling around in a circle with a pen to mark where the athlete’s foot lands at each point on the star, the coach or physical therapist has to keep track of multiple measurements on each leg for a single test, plug that data into a spreadsheet, process the data, and then keep track of it as the athlete performs regular re-tests to monitor their progress through a training program. We’re developing a solution that makes most of this process automatic. Our Cipher Skin Knee BioSleeve provides real-time 3D motion capture, and can objectively measure the precise movement of the athlete’s lower body throughout the star excursion test. By automating the collection of data during the test and processing it at the push of a button, we make it easier and more efficient to perform the SEBT. This data is then stored in a cloud-based database so that each athlete’s progress can be analyzed and tracked over time. This is one of the first of many applications of our Cipher Skin technology that we are developing. Interested in testing out our tech at your team or clinic? Leave us a message below or let us know at email@example.com!
- Gribble PA, Hertel J, Facsm À, Plisky P. Using the Star Excursion Balance Test to Assess Dynamic Postural-Control Deficits and Outcomes in Lower Extremity Injury: A Literature and Systematic Review. 2012;47(3):339–57.
- Kaminski TW, Underwood FB. Star Excursion Balance Test as a Predictor of Lower Extremity Injury in High School. 2004.