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Sports Innovation in the Sunshine State


Spring is in the air and the sports industry in Central Florida is blossoming! This time of year brings a combination of youth, college, and professional sports to our area. From Orlando City Soccer kicking off the season at their brand new stadium and USTA's grand opening of 100 courts in Lake Nona, to Major League Baseball's Grapefruit League under way with spring training, Florida attracts people from all over the nation to watch America's best athletes perform for their cities.

With so many sporting events and athletes surrounding the area, sports related injuries are inevitable. Sports injuries aren't just for professionals, but also for weekend warriors and novices alike. Thus, positioning Orlando as a magnet for sports medicine enthusiasts and healthcare specialists looking to showcase the latest therapeutic innovations in a thriving medical ecosystem. Their objective - to help athletes achieve maximum performance by getting them back to their highest level and enjoying what they love most, competing. The growth of sports has brought with it an increasing demand for high-quality prevention and treatment options, including outpatient procedures, minimally invasive surgeries, training, and awareness of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

As a result, a plethora of great sports rehabilitation centers, like Florida Hospital's Sports Medicine unit, and new medical device manufacturers, have positively impacted Florida's economy. As home to more than 620 companies manufacturing medical devices, the Sunshine State is ranked second in the United States for FDA registered medical device manufacturing companies, employing over 684,000 skilled healthcare workers. Many athletes who come to Florida are competing in tournaments, playoffs, and championship level competitions that enhance their respective crafts but also put them at potential risk for a sports related injury. With new innovations in orthopedic and surgical outpatient procedures, patients can often go home the very same day as their surgery. Ironically, earlier this month while researching this topic, I fractured my left radius while snowboarding in Colorado. In order for it to heal properly, my arm required six screws inserted into the bone. Thanks to Dr. Denard and the exceptional clinical staff at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, I was able to schedule the surgery that week and go home the same day as my surgery.

For athletes, sports medicine has helped regain and/or improve performance, but it is also advancing in areas of monitoring and prevention. For example, CDG, LLC (aka: Cool Down Gear) is an Orlando-based company that developed a new layer of thermo-cooling wearable technology in athletic wear called Shiva. Its technology is designed to cool the body's core temperature when signs of heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or heat cramps are present. With Florida producing extreme temperatures during the summer months well over 100 degrees, this device is an optimal fit for those who need to cool off. Its innovative cooling technology captures heat and moisture from the body to monitor, record, and report the individual's vital signs, which is then transmitted to their proprietary app and uploaded to any smart device. The result is a patented vest that is able to adjust to properly cool the body's core temperature.

You can catch a highlight of some of Central Florida's work in sports medicine on April 13th from 6-8pm, at the Health Innovators "Innovations in Sports Medicine: An Expert Forum" education and networking event, which will be held at the GuideWell Innovation CoRE in Lake Nona. Comprised of some of the most innovative clinicians and inventors in Florida's sports medicine and orthopedics community, this forum is sure to inform and invigorate sports medicine inventors and enthusiasts alike.

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