Baseball injuries often leave major league players out for weeks or months for the season. While all players are prone to injuries, baseball pitchers are prone to straining the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in their pitching arm. This is the tissue in the elbow that keeps the bone of the upper arm attached to the two bones of the forearm, and it is subjected to a great deal of stress during a typical pitching motion. Motus Global, a wearable technology company working with 3D movement and performance analytics software, has developed a smart sleeve designed to reduce this risk.
the Motus mThrow sleeve and its smartphone app for baseball pitchers collects and analyzes key metrics relating to pitching mechanics. Pitchers need to wear this sleeve every time they throw. mThrow, via the embedded 3D sensor, collects data such as arm speed, pitch counts, and other relevant information related to every throw. It calculates workloads for the arm, and recommends daily throw limits to help maintain the pitcher’s arm health. The smart sleeve also delivers immersive training sessions to assess bullpen performance to help create deception as a pitcher. Data is also sent to the trainers and managers via the smartphone app. This data is used to detect body changes such as UCL deterioration and other changes in pitchers’ and batters’ performance. The mThrow was beta tested with nine major league baseball teams, and is now available online at the company website with packages priced at $150 for the sleeve and sensor.
The technology is being expanded for specialized needs in other sports such as tennis, football, basketball, and golf. Data collection and its analysis will help trainers and managers spot signs of strain earlier and take appropriate action before it results in an injury.