Get Ready for the Sanford SCORE
Former Augustana College basketball standout Cody Schilling shuffles through a basketball lane, showcasing his agility.
Under the watchful eye of Thayne Munce, PHD, associate director of the National Institute for Athletic Health & Performance, the six-foot, five-inch athlete reaches almost a foot over the height of a basketball rim. The researcher jots down notes for a project that will benefit athletes across the country.
This superior athlete is testing out a new tool from Sanford Health designed to prepare every player for the demands of training and competition. Sanford SCORE combines the best of cutting-edge scientific research and innovative sports medicine to help revolutionize the way athletes play the game, says Dr. Munce.
“Our goal is to help athletes play sports to the best of their ability and stay injury free,” Dr. Munce says. “This is just the beginning of what is possible.”
A new vision
The Sanford SCORE is unlike anything being done in the sports medicine and training world, said the researcher, a former college athlete and performance coach whose specialty is applied exercise physiology. The goal was to create an assessment, a numeric score that could be used to quantify athletic ability into a single number.
This simple, but revolutionary idea was followed by over a year of serious scientific research, tying together Sanford’s expertise in high quality sports medicine with careful evaluation of training methods, movement and scientific markers of fitness. Dr. Munce says his team tested groups of athletes, creating a database that could be analyzed and compared.
“We knew it needed to be simple, it needed to be credible and it needed to be right,” he says, intently watching the basketball player shuffle and sprint inside a basketball lane.
Sanford SCORE is now available to basketball players of all levels, and their coaches, through a new website. The website provides instructions for a series of basic exercises that can be done in any regulation gymnasium to measure acceleration, speed, agility, vertical power, linear power and endurance.
Without any cost, a parent or coach can log onto the website, run the player through these drills, enter the information requested into the website and get that player’s Sanford SCORE, a numeric evaluation about strengths and areas needing improvement. The SCORE compares each athlete’s performance in the drills against other athletes at his or her age.
Taking it further
“This is an ongoing process,” says Dr. Munce. “We’re doing this research and applying it immediately to create a better tool for athletes to perform safely at the highest level possible.”
In the future, coaches and parents who want to participate in the next levels of SCORE will be able to use Sanford sports medicine research to work to prevent injury and take their athletic training to the next level.
Players who sign up for SCORE Pro will soon be able to make an appointment for testing at Sanford’s POWER Center to run another series of more sophisticated drills directed by a certified trainer that are designed to identify movement deficiencies, which could possibly lead to injury. For the highest level of athletic performer a service called SCORE Elite will provide one-on-one customized assessments, including nutrition, laboratory fitness tests and evaluations to help players perform at their peak and most effective and safe level.
This type of testing, based on Sanford research and expertise in treating sports injuries, is a truly unique way to try to keep players where they belong – healthy and safely able to perform to the best of their abilities, says Dr. Munce.
“We can tell you not only if athletes are able to jump high and run fast, but more importantly, are there flaws in the way they move that could keep them from playing to their full potential all season without injury?” the researcher says.
A commitment to care
Sanford researchers are currently working on SCORE evaluations for other sports too, Dr. Munce said. In the future, players who participate in hockey, soccer and football will have the chance to assess their performance with SCORE.
It’s all part of Sanford’s commitment to a full continuum of services and care for competitors of all types, from elite athletes to recreational players, says the researcher.
Sanford orthopedics and sports medicine professionals have a national reputation for helping athletes return to the playing field. Cutting-edge research into improving performance and helping prevent those injuries helps fulfill Sanford’s dedication to safe sports participation, elite performance services and providing the most advanced sports medicine services possible.
“There is nothing better than helping athletes achieve their goals in sports,” says Dr. Munce. “It’s incredibly rewarding to improve the ways they can stay healthy and in the game. That’s what we do.”
Posted Date: August 2012