For athletes, injury is an occupational hazard. No matter how well an athlete prepares and regardless of the effectiveness of their warm down routines, the rigours of putting their body through constant stresses and strain in both training and competition will eventually take its toll.
For the majority of people this is an inconvenience, keeping them out of sporting action for a few days or weeks. For a professional athlete, however, injury is not just an inconvenience, injury can derail or even end a career. For professional athletes a quick and effective recovery is critical – professional athletes want to get back in the game.
Enter “Game Ready” technology.
For years, the PRICE (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) procedure has been an established course of treatment for soft tissue injury but now many medical and sporting professionals are encouraging professional athletes to use Game Ready as part of this regimen.
One such professional is physiotherapist Sandi Lyall, part of the medical team currently supporting Team Scotland’s athletes in Delhi at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Lyall explained:
“The Game Ready product is a device we use to treat athletes who have acute soft tissue injuries and ongoing injuries which have an inflammatory component.
“It doesn’t replace PRICE but it enhances it because it means we are able to apply ice and compression together in a much more effective way.”
Game Ready uses spacesuit technology developed by NASA to simultaneously deliver intermittent compression and adjustable cold therapy. Explaining how the system works, Lyall said:
“There is a central unit that delivers the cold and compression by connecting to various wraps which are specific to different body parts, so we have wraps for right arm, left foot etc. That means you get a precise fit which helps make it a very effective device.”
It is the first time such a device has been used by Team Scotland and Lyall continued:
“It’s the first time we have used the product at a Commonwealth Games and Game Ready have been very generous in loaning us the unit and the sleeves to use in Delhi. The unit we have here has just come back from the football World Cup where the English football team were using it.
“It’s a new concept for us but it has been used extensively in the States, in the English Football Premiership and by other high performance sports bodies and the British Lions took the Game Ready machine on Tour with them to South Africa last year.”
Asked which of Team Scotland’s sports have benefitted from the Game Ready device, Lyall said:
“The sports we have used Game Ready for are hockey, rugby, boxing, a lot of the contact sports. One of our shooters is also using it at the moment for a shoulder problem and is feeling a great benefit.
“The feedback we have had from the athletes is that they like the product because it’s easy to use and it’s comfortable and they have seen the benefits of it.
“It’s a very safe unit and it is very simplistic in its approach so that it would be possible for athletes to take them home for use by themselves for ongoing treatment which is important, especially in the first 72 hours after sustaining injury.”
Similar technology is also on its way to Afghanistan to aid the troops in combat in the region. Lyall explained:
“Team Scotland also have another very similar unit which has been donated to us by Zamar so it gives us the opportunity to try them both.
“The difference between the Game Ready unit compared to the Zamar unit is that the Zamar device doesn’t need ice. It uses glycol to provide the cold instead. Because of this the Zamar unit will be going out to Afghanistan to use with the troops in the field hospitals.”
Lyall is part of a medical team consisting of six doctors and 10 physiotherapists, brought together to provide support to Team Scotland athletes in Delhi. It is the biggest medical team Scotland have ever had at a Commonwealth Games and with Game Ready and Zamar on board, the team are in prime position to keep the athletes off the injury table and in the sporting arena.