A researcher in Wolfville is using a new motion lab to investigate why anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are more common in women than men, and how to prevent them.

Scott Landry, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Acadia University, uses sensors strategically placed on subjects to provide information on motion.

Motion lab

The sensors and reflective markers in the lab create a detailed image on the computer. (CBC)

The sensors and reflective markers create a detailed image on the computer of how the muscles, ligaments and bones work together in the subject’s body.

Landry will track both men and women from varsity athletes to aspiring ones. Of particular interest to Landry is why women suffer ACL injuries more frequently than men.

Sydney Cummings, 10, volunteered for the research. With taped-on sensors all over her body, she ran various courses in the motion lab that prompt sharp unanticipated turns, similar to the running path of someone playing basketball.

Sensors on the floor even track the force she exerts on the ground.

Landry has done similar studies before and tracked some athletes who actually went on to tear their ACL.

“So we have some of their data now and so the idea would be to combine our data but also look back at the data we've previously collected,” he said.

For instance, Landry said the research could show whether the subject’s hamstring or quad muscles are not firing at the proper time, causing injury.

With that information, Landry hopes athlete injury prevention programs can be improved.