Local football-league partners with Elite Neuro Kinetix for injury prevention study in response to new Ontario legislation designed to protect athletes and promote safety
The Windsor Essex Football League (WEFL) is leading the way this season in integrating safety-driven performance enhancement for its players. On August 4th, the WEFL is partnering with Allen Champagne, MD/PhD candidate (2023) at Queen’s University and former defensive tackle for the University of North Carolina (NCAA D1), along with his team at Elite Neuro Kinetix, made of Vincent DiStefano and Marie-Michelle Boulanger, to assess its players using novel technology such as GoPro cameras and qualitative biomechanical analyses.
The project is a collaborative effort between the Center for Neuroscience studies at Queen’s university (Kingston, ON) and the Connections lab at McGill university (Montréal, QC) designed to enhance coaching practices and improve on-field behaviours by determining the risks associated with athletes’ movements. WEFL players will participate in a series of football-specific and performance driven drills, which will be used to assess the athletes’ ability to move fluidly, change direction, tackle and block, simulating game-like situations.
All athletes will also perform a laser-gated 40 yard-dash, a T-test, a shuttle test and a broad jump, which will provide in-depth feedback regarding their agility and performance. Taken together, testing results will allow for the creation of more personalized training programs that will cater to the needs of teams and individual athletes, in an effort to promote safer coaching practices on the football field.
Following the testing, Allen and his team will analyze the video data using a standardized scoring system they have developed as part of his PhD project and then return the data to each player, including their individual film and graded report cards. Team-based report cards will also be given to coaches in order to highlight areas of weakness and guide novel practice drills designed to improve fundamental technique, and promote player development.
The objective of this initiative is to identify the specific skills players need to improve in order to promote a safer playing field, without taking away the integrity and competitive nature of football.
Participating in the Neuro Protection Project is the WEFL’s step toward redefining the future of sport and safety. As a community, Windsor has a unique chance to take leadership in responding directly to the Rowan’s law, by setting a new standard for the way we assess, identify and effectively modify technique in student-athletes, ultimately enhancing coaching practices. We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Elite Neuro Kinetix, and look forward to redefining performance and safety this year.
The WEFL has safety as its number one concern, and this information needs to be used by the largest number of players. In order to include other football athletes in the area, the WEFL is extending the invitation to all football players in the area. There is a large, but limited number of athletes that we can accommodate, please contact the WEFL at [email protected].
The event takes place at Realtor Park, 1200 Homedale Blvd, Windsor, on Saturday, August 4th 10am-5pm and Sunday, August 5th 10am-5pm.