August 3, 2018

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - How a camera that sees like a shrimp could save baseball pitchers months of recovery time


St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Written by Christie L.C. Ellis

ST. LOUIS • Could a shrimp hold the secret to keeping Cardinals pitchers healthy? With the help of Washington University researchers, the answer might be yes.

A group of professors, led by Spencer Lake, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Washington U., have been awarded a $388,541 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop a new imaging technique. Inspired by the eyes of the mantis shrimp, this technique could help treat and prevent a common elbow injury among baseball pitchers which requires season-ending surgery.

One of the most devastating yet common injuries for baseball pitchers is a torn elbow ligament known as the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament).

“The overhand throwing motion is one of the fastest recorded human motions at almost 7,000 degrees per second,” said Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center in Birmingham, Ala. “To say that it puts a fair amount of stress on the arm would be an understatement.”

The treatment for UCL tears is Tommy John surgery, a reconstruction procedure...

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