Technology advances athletics

Jake Tapley

In a world driven by technological innovation, there are no exceptions to advancement. If something is not kept up to date, then it is rendered obsolete.

The same is true for the field of athletic training. In years past, there have been many new developments and innovative solutions relating to equipment, technology and technique.  

Kelsey Emig, graduate assistant athletic trainer, said she looks to innovation as the underlying factor in the variety of equipment available.

“We’ve come a long way with the advancement of technology, in general,” Emig said. “A lot of progress has been made in the past five years.”

One of the newer developments contributing to this progress is Kinesio Tape. Though it has been around for about four decades, but it was not a very common practice until recently.

Kinesio Tape is an elastic tape that differs from other therapeutic tape in that it is supposed to reduce swelling and pain, while facilitating proper circulation.

“In athletic training, tape is used for a variety of things,” Emig said. “It can be used to restrict the range of motion, stabilize a joint, act as support or promote healing.”

Whether or not they use adhesive tape, Kinesio Tape or even a brace depends on a number of variables such as type of injury, specifics of injury and the individual.

“Kinesio Tape is mostly used for muscle-related injuries,” said Laura Heline, Assistant Athletic Trainer. “Though, in general, it’s not as commonly used as adhesive tape.”

Heline cited availability as the main moderator for preference.

“As a school’s budget increases, so do its options,” Heline said.

Having visited Division I schools’ facilities and having seen the schools’ equipment, Emig said she is very aware of what a bigger budget would mean for the university. Heline said she finds that people outside of the field are the reason for the uprise of athletic training in the past decade.

“Other people are learning the benefits of having athletic trainers,” Heline said. “We achieve advancement by need for change.”

Kristen Raker, junior guard/forward for USI women’s basketball team, finds it encouraging to know that the innovation to athletic training technology is ongoing.

“More and more athletes are getting hurt,” Raker said. “We really do need the athletic trainers and the technology.”

Some of the technology that Raker uses for games are heating pads, E-stim and Kinesio Tape. She is a proponent to the tape’s success.

“Every time I wore it, I felt like it was helping the pain I was having,” said Raker. “I didn’t know exactly what it was doing, but it seemed to be working.”