The Future of Sports Medicine
7 minute read · Issue Number 47 · December 18th, 2020
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Hi, happy holidays!
I’m very excited to share with you that my podcast had its six-month anniversary this week!
It may not sound like a lot, but I feel like you should always celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
Reflecting on this year, writing the Sports-Tech Biz Magazine and hosting the Halftime Snacks podcast have been incredible life-changing adventures. These projects expanded my perspectives, developed my skills, and strengthened my network.
I'm grateful for all the readers, guests, listeners, and supporters who trusted and joined me on these journeys. You are the fuel that keeps me going. Thank you!
Now, let’s get down to business.
Today, we’ll talk about sports medicine.
Specifically, we’ll learn about regenerative medicine, the economic and health implications of these technologies in the context of sports injuries, and some future perspectives.
Regenerative Sports Medicine
When we talk about technology in sports, we often think about new apps, devices, or solutions in a digital space. Nevertheless, we must remember that technology’s goal is to improve things.
Due to the risk of injuries, sports medicine has lots of opportunities for improvement.
While conventional medicine treats injuries with traditional methods (surgeries, rehabilitation, etc.), regenerative treatments aim to create biological solutions to provide the athlete’s body with better ‘tools’ to regenerate itself.
“Regenerative medicine is an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to repair or replace damaged or diseased human cells or tissues to restore normal function.”
Healthcare and Economic Perspectives
Regenerative sports medicine can:
Improve patient quality of life;
Reduce the negative impacts of chronic conditions
Change different diseases' trajectory.
From an economic perspective, these developments can reduce healthcare costs by essentially preventing future injuries and reducing physiotherapy procedures.
The Current State of Regenerative Sports Medicine
Sports and exercise modify the human physiological state.
Under the right frequency and intensity of an exercise, the body’s cells, tissues, and organs absorb the stress to build muscle.
However, an excessive amount of exercise can damage an athlete’s body.
Regenerative solutions provide a faster and enhanced regeneration of tissues and functional tissue substance, which will ensure athletes’ improved body function.
Currently, the leading regenerative technologies in sports injuries are cell therapies and specific blood derivatives.
Here’s a quick outlook of some of the current methodologies:
Through biological cell therapies (including allogeneic, autologous, and blood derivatives), athletes can accelerate healing and restore function.
Bone Marrow Aspirate
The BMA is a low-risk, non-invasive treatment that heals injury conditions such as cartilage, bone, tendon, and ligament tears anywhere in the body.
The following diagram depicts an example:
Young Blood Infusions
This study found that exchanging blood from young to old mice reversed cognitive and neurological impairments in old ones. Additionally, it improves memory and learning capabilities. These findings may have critical implications if scientists can replicate them in humans.
Today, there are a few additional treatments that are being tested by scientists, including exosome therapy, cartilage tissue engineering, and other cell therapies.
The Future of Regenerative Sports Medicine
Most of the developments in regenerative sports medicine are in their early stages. Sport medicine physicians are only beginning to understand the different clinical uses and applications.
Advances in this field depend on understanding molecular and cell biology in tissue healing and different repair mechanisms.
New opportunities such as illness prediction, talent identification, personalized nutrition, and injury susceptibility will emerge as science advances.
The discoveries in sports medicine will most likely change the way we understand injuries, and more importantly, the human body.
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Until next week,
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