Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Official Student Newspaper of Henry M. Gunn High School

The Oracle

Specialized sports technologies improve safety, performance

Specialized+sports+technologies+improve+safety%2C+performance

Prevent’s head-impact monitoring mouthguard

Concussions, ever plaguing athletes in contact sports, are especially dangerous because it is unclear precisely which types of impacts cause them. For professional athletes, concussion-prevention solutions mostly involve being sidelined for extended periods. One organization tackling this issue is Prevent, crafting a mouthguard able to record a collision’s impact and determine its severity.

The Impact Monitoring Mouthguard, a wearable device that still functions as a mouthguard, sends information about head trauma to devices. It records everything from the force to the location of the hit, which aids medical professionals in making informed decisions about athletes’ health.

After the mouthguard underwent a thorough testing process, Prevent created partnerships with several college athletic
programs and even some major sports tournaments, such as the World Rugby Cup, in which a majority of players in the league wear IMMs. Rugby is a contact-heavy sport, with frequent concussions and other injuries, so many are hopeful that the IMM will improve treatment for players. In collegiate partnerships, IMMs are mostly worn by football players and wrestlers.

 

Nike’s carbon-plated shoes

In 2017, Nike released its first carbon-plated shoe, the Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit. Introduced to the market shortly after the 2016 Rio Olympics, the shoes were heavily rumored to “make you faster.” These Vaporfly models have proven effective, helping athletes break countless records in long-distance running. The three athletes in the 2021 games who wore the Vaporfly prototype — Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya), Feyisa Lilesa (Ethiopia) and Galen Rupp (U.S.) — all medaled in the marathon event.

Following the Vaporfly models’ success, Nike continued experimenting, releasing the first version of its Alphafly shoes to the market shortly after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The current world-record holder for the marathon, Kelvin Kiptum, wore them when he made history at the 2023 Chicago marathon, breaking the world record by 34 seconds.

While Vaporflys and Alphaflys may be the heroes of distance, Nike has also proved to be the frontrunner in shoes for sprinters. Dubbed the “super spikes,” Nike’s high-tech carbon-plated spikes dominated at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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About the Contributors
Vivian Studdert, Sports Editor
Vivian Studdert is a senior and a sports editor for The Oracle. Outside of school, Vivian enjoys reading, swimming and traversing the supermarket.
Vin Bhat, Graphic Artist, Photographer
Freshman Vin Bhat is a freelance graphic artist and photographer for The Oracle. He enjoys playing guitar, programming, and listening to music in his spare time.
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