Sports play and injuries rather go hand in hand. With a high level of physical activity comes the risk of an ankle sprain, muscle strain, ligament tear or worse. Although a sports injury can be devastating, and often season-ending, what an athlete chooses to do beyond their injury can greatly determine how successfully they will recover, heal and get back to their game.
At Texas Health Sports Medicine, injured athletes receive next-level care designed to help them return safely and with reduced risk of re-injury or secondary injury. LEAP testing is a Lower Extremity Assessment and Performance program offered at all Texas Health Sports Medicine locations that assesses an athlete’s leg, ankle and feet movements as they take part in high-level exercises after sustaining an injury or orthopedic surgery. The LEAP assessment looks at the athlete’s technique and form and provides information that the Texas Health Sports Medicine staff can then apply to the athlete’s physical recovery plan.
“LEAP is a 3-D motion analysis system that uses cameras to capture movement from all different angles,” explains sports physical therapist Philip Sheedy of Texas Heath Sports Medicine. “The athlete goes through various movements experienced in an athletic environment, such as jumping and landing techniques, and the system assesses how they are moving to give us an idea of injury risk or how they are recovering after an injury. LEAP allows us to set a baseline for the athlete’s movement to identify possible movement dysfunction and areas for improved performance.”
After the LEAP testing, a biomechanics report is generated with information to help the athlete retrain their muscles and nervous system to react and move so as not to experience re-injury during high activity. The Texas Health Sports Medicine staff works with the athlete on proper technique with a focus on agility, strength and stability.
A sports physical therapist works one-on-one with the athlete in the LEAP Lab to provide a personalized approach to education and care. A tailored home exercise program also can be created to help the athlete or active individual stay motivated to address any neuromuscular deficits for long-term injury risk reduction.
Sheedy says that even healthy individuals can benefit from the LEAP assessment. Runners, weekend warriors, high school and professional athletes have all used the program to look at their movement patterns, neuromuscular control and strength, and make adjustments based on the report.
“Participants really like the biomechanics information provided through the LEAP assessment. They gain better insight as to where they are at in their recovery from a current injury or movement deficiencies that put them at risk for future injury. It’s great to be able to take athletic performance to the next level with the help of the advanced motion analysis,” Sheedy adds.
To learn more about care for athletes and active individuals, visit TexasHealth.org/SportsMedicine. To schedule a LEAP assessment at a Texas Health Sport Medicine location near you, visit TexasHealth.org/LEAPassessment.