I remember having a conversation with a rocket scientist once–an actual, honest to goodness rocket scientist–about the value of the space program.
He was telling me that a big part of its worth was the way technology developed with space exploration in mind eventually came to benefit Americans in their every day lives.
NASA takes this stuff so seriously, there’s even a website devoted exclusively to this idea.
Lately, it seems a similar argument could be made about sports.
The Dispatch has a story today about how the Ohio State football team will soon be donating their bodies to science.
“[They] will be outfitted with biosensors starting this year for a sports-medicine research project that aims to reduce injuries and boost performance.
Players who agree to be part of the project will wear biosensors the size of a wristwatch that will record data on all their movements forward, backward, side to side and up and down in a lab setting.”
At the same time, BTN reports that Illinois football wants to see if cooler heads can prevail. And Keith Jackson’s study could be critical to the survival of the sport, given the concern and raised awareness regarding the issue of concussions.
If [he can get the funding], Jackson will conduct a four-year longitudinal study of 10-15 freshmen, who will use the cooling helmet four times a week, and then he’ll compare the preseason and postseason MRI brain results of the sample group versus freshmen who didn’t use the cooling helmet over the same span.
“We want to see what effects cooling has on the brain over a four-year period versus the effect no cooling has on the brain, neurocognitively and neuroimaging-wise,” Jackson said.
Finally, the Ravens will be guinea pigs of a sort as they experiment with ways to avoid jet lag.
“The medical staff is looking to determine the best sleep schedule for West Coast trips.
Currently, the Ravens leave on Friday afternoons when playing a Sunday game on the West Coast. Flying out two days in advance gives the players an opportunity to adjust to the new time zone. For games in the Eastern time zone, the team leaves just one day early.
In addition to flying out West a day early, the team is also considering getting the players gradually acclimated to the time change. For example, they could start Wednesday morning meetings at 8:15, Thursday at 9:15 and then Friday at 10:15, slowly changing the players’ schedules so that they’re on West Coast time when they leave on Friday.”
So it appears that science and sports do occasionally operate in the same space.