Micro-GPS for Mangled Spines

Using an electromagnetic tracking device similar to GPS, researchers at the University of Rochester are aiming to reinvent the art of moving injured athletes. The existing methods for lumping bodies onto stretchers have names reminiscent of '80s dance moves, and Dr. Glenn Rechtine and colleagues have been trying to figure out which of them is least likely to further damage a victim's spine.

By placing three to five of these tiny devices on the upper body of a cadaver, researchers were able to precisely measure how much an injured cervical spine moves at several precise points in the process of removing a player from the field including taking off a helmet, putting on a cervical collar, and placing a player on the backboard for transportation to the ambulance.

Rechtine found that a technique called the "Modified Lift and Slide," where one person holds the head and several people support the body, causes less spinal movement than another common maneuver charmingly named the â''Log Roll.â''

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