The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery engages and invests in numerous seed grants, research personnel, and is focused on collaborative research in a variety of subspecialties and disciplines. Our latest growth has centered on Sports Medicine and Biomedical Engineering, in partnership with the UC College of Engineering.
Our adult research team includes a research manager, research coordinator, research fellow, and various staff/faculty within and outside of the department. In partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, we also have on faculty two PhD researchers and various other research staff and support.
Several studies are currently focused on the brains of athletes and training them to process information faster by using equipment designed to improve visual acuity and hand-eye coordination. We are pioneers in developing this for performance enhancement, injury prevention and concussion management.
The summer of 2013 was the first year a research station was included in the UC Bearcat Football camp. Also, it was the first time the camp had four Dynavision systems for vision training and research projects.
We are also developing objective decision-based models for clinical use by sports medicine practitioners that take into account quantification of the forces that caused the injury and individualized, quantifiable outcomes for players attempting to return to play.
These studies are a part of our sports medicine team’s research program dedicated to helping UC lead the way in developing and discovering improved techniques to help our athletes, as well as aiding the health of the community and nation.
Basic Science Research
“When to allow an injured athlete to return to play” is a difficult decision to make as there is a general lack of means to obtain objective data during an athlete’s rehabilitation period that can to help answer the question. A definition of successful rehabilitation is simply return to a prior functional activity with the assumption that all variables have been defined and addressed.
Many "return to play" articles address the evaluation process from a recovery time period, physical characteristic, subjective function or subjective movement performance. In many cases, abnormal symmetries continue to be demonstrated.
The lack of a definitive means to answer the question comes back to perhaps the problem lying in the rehabilitation process, and/or the evaluation selection tests. Current decision-making for return to play, although considered scientific based, may have internal biases based on study design, clinician prejudice, lack of evaluation performance parameters, patient subjective psychological state, anecdotal design of the rehabilitation program and surgical intervention.
Quantitative instruments currently being used during injury physical therapy include Biodex, KT 1000, hop testing, and timed run tests. Once an athlete returns to practice, however, only a subjective view can be evaluated. No device exists that can quantify practice activity and successful return to function. And studies have demonstrated that limb asymmetry can continue to exist even after return to play has occurred.
There we are exploring the development of an assessment system that can be correlated to the rehabilitation protocol to predict safe return to play and make that assessment based on quantitative data collected in real time in play or therapy.
Various faculty and staff from the department participate in research in multiple forums through the resident and medical student education programs, internally-sponsored studies, collaborative grant submissions and publications, and externally funded research. Our primary faculty researchers include:
- Greg Myer, PhD
- Donita Bylski-Austrow, PhD