With the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro just 17 days away, many Canadian athletes are working hard to make sure they're in top shape to take the world stage, and a Toronto startup has come up with a high-tech way to help keep them healthy.
RightBlue Labs has developed an app called Logit that monitors athletes' training habits to help them avoid injury or illness when getting ready for competition.
"If an athlete commits to our system for one full year, we're between 85-to-90 per cent accurate in preventing injury," CEO and co-founder Ronen Benin said to CBC's Metro Morning on Monday.
The app uses a kind of questionnaire — called a Likert scale — that asks athletes to rank how they're feeling, from very good to very bad, as they train.
The information is then logged and compared against data gathered about past injuries the athletes have suffered during training. The app then warns users if what they are doing is putting them at risk of getting hurt or not.
Benin says the inspiration for the app came from his experience as a competitive swimmer, which was cut short by injuries.
"As an athlete, I ended up retiring when I was 17 years old because my body was destroyed," he said.
Early warning system for injuries
Benin explained that he kept a training journal to track how he felt after training, standard procedure for most competitive amateur athletes. He added that while those journal logs can be helpful, they aren't effective in alerting athletes of problems before they happen.
"I have a younger brother who was training really hard, trying to make the Rio games, and I saw very clearly in his training journal that he was declining, but it took forever to identify the training patterns with the journal," he said.
Benin said that quick assessment of risk is what makes his application an important tool for trainers and athletes. Instead of having to look for patterns after an injury occurs. He said Logit will flag an athlete and their support team through the app if they're in danger of getting injured..
"[It] highlights what the areas of concern are and provides a sort of tool kit that they can go to the athlete with, and tell them what things in their lives that they need to change," he said.
For these reasons, he said the app is already being used across a number of sports that are part of the summer Olympics, including swimming, fencing, basketball and badminton.
However, he said that they are looking to expand and offer services to all individuals wanting to look after their health.
"Tracking your own well-being and trying to identify patterns over time ... is on the rise. I don't see that slowing down," he said.