The Olympics In Detroit: Technology Helps Athletes Stay In Medal-Winning Shape

U.S. Women's Soccer vs Norway, 2008U.S. Women's Soccer vs Norway, 2008U.S. athletes may be the ones taking home gold medals in the Olympic Games that kick off in Beijing, China, this week, but medical researchers in Detroit say they’re ones picking up a real prize.

Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital are using a computer ultrasound system called GE LOGIQ i to monitor the health of athletes at the Olympics. The doctors are in Detroit, and the athletes are in Beijing. The LOGIQ streams scans of injuries via the Internet, where they can be used to make a diagnosis.

The study is funded by General Electric through the U.S. Olympic Committee. The system is still being tested during these Olympics, so researchers are only looking at the women’s soccer, boxing, weightlifting and wrestling teams. They got an early start with the soccer players, scanning them at a training camp in May to give researchers a picture of the athletes before the strain of high-level competition takes its toll. But they were already showing some injuries, even then. The researchers say more than a third of the players had some damage to their tendons and ligaments, mostly in the knees. Soccer players also had higher-than-expected rates of hernias and arthritis in their hips and groin area.

Doctors in Detroit on the LOGIQ i systemDoctors in Detroit on the LOGIQ i system

Doctors say their ultimate goal is to make sports medical care more specialized. They say the LOGIQ system could help a coach or trainer keep their athletes from injury or even career-ending harm.