OSU and AFRL team up to find best recovery method for SPEC OPS

Ohio State University (OSU) officials signed a cooperative research and development agreement with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), in which OSU researchers will work closely with the Air Force 711th Human Performance Wing (711th HPW) to evaluate the stress and recovery states of the university’s Division 1 athletes. The data collected will help the military to individualize the best recovery method for the warfighter.

Throughout the year, hundreds of contracts are awarded to companies with a myriad of orders ranging from updating to the latest radar systems to securing the military’s network. Engineers research and develop new technologies that will ultimate help the warfighter do his or her job more efficiently. The beauty about the work some of these companies are doing will result in keeping the warfighter away from the front lines.

This is different in terms that while it covers technology that will help the warfighter, it actually focuses on the human being instead of the systems and tools used on a daily basis by the military. The idea in this collaboration is to gather information from athletes with similar mental and physical attributes that have.

The information collected will turn into a daily report to measure stress and recovery states. This will determine the future workload and specific recover modalities that will ultimate help the warfighter, an AFRL news story states. The data gathered are based off “real-time exertion, daily readiness, and heart rate variability (HRV) technology.”

Ohio State athlete Craig Fada performs an OmegaWave heart rate variability and central nervous system test. This test is used to personalize recovery. Photo Courtesy of the Ohio State University

Dr. Josh Hagen says, from the 711th HPW and is the Signature Tracking for Optimized Nutrition and Training Team Lead, says “As a result of this agreement, the 711th HPW has access to all of the data collected and can directly transfer it into extremely useful analytics and reports for the coaches. In turn, we can learn and develop advanced sports science analytics and methodologies that are directly applied to the Department of Defense. That’s the goal of CRADAs: each side collaborates and brings something of value to the table.”

All this information will enable the Air Force to help SPEC OPS. Researchers will have immediate access to data that will enable them to better understand and build a recovery model that is specific to the warfighter. This collaboration will also help to measure how effective certain therapies are for athletes. One of these methods that will be take advantage in this program is “flotation therapy,” which is a form of therapy where the athlete is submerged in a soundproof tank with magnesium sulphate.

OSU has installed a flotation tank for testing and this method will have scientific data to back the therapy’s effectiveness. It’s nice to see the industry work on technology that will directly affect the individual. It’s also nice to see that OSU will take advantage of the perks of this contract. A perk, being that from this collaboration the 711th HPW Staff will take the role of OSU’s sports science staff due to OSU’s close proximity to Wright-Patterson Air For Base in Dayton, Ohio. Both parties will work closely to help each other out. It’s a win, win situation.

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