Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

New Light on Baseball Injury

PostedJuly 26, 2018

Download File (mp3)

Lede: Elbow ligament damage is a common injury among baseball pitchers, including the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg. A new imaging technique is shedding light on why it happens and maybe even how to prevent it.

Randy Atkins: The microscopic structure of elbow ligaments can be revealed by shining specially controlled – polarized – light waves on the tissue and recording how it reflects back. Spencer Lake, a mechanical engineer at Washington University in St. Louis, says the camera that captures the images was inspired by the Mantis shrimp.

Spencer Lake: They have a really sophisticated visual system, so they can actually see the polarization state of light with their eyes.

Randy Atkins: The camera could be part of arthroscopic procedures and Lake says comparing microstructure of healthy and damaged tissues…

Spencer Lake: …will give us some insight into potentially where does damage initiate and how does it progress over time. That might also give some insight into surgical techniques or reconstruction techniques.

Randy Akins: Maybe, Lake says, even new pitching motions to prevent injury in the first place! With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.