South Florida Hospital News
Thursday August 6, 2020
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April 2015 - Volume 11 - Issue 10
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Jumping to New Heights: New Wearable Technology Measures Your Jumps

Marty Matak’s aha moment started in South Florida about 20 years ago while coaching Little League and basketball. Full of life and energy, 12-to 16 year-old boys were always seeing how high they could jump. Even as we age, there’s still a piece of our 12-to-16 year-old selves inside who, at some point, wonder how high is our vertical leap.
 
Matak’s vision was to develop some type of wearable fitness monitor that could measure the heights of our jumps as well as how many times we could jump in a session. But the technology did not exist at the time.
 
Jump ahead to today, and Matak’s vision is now a reality. The VERT wearable jump monitor is a device worn near your waist and measures your jump as it transmits the data wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet in real-time. Matak, president and founder of the Ft. Lauderdale-based company that bears the same name as his device, says to think of VERT like a heart rate monitor, but worn around your waist. You can see all of your jump metrics immediately on the VERT device itself and simultaneously on your smart device through a downloadable VERT app. While there are already some products that can record your jump measurements, VERT is different in that it can now be done anywhere, anytime in real time.
 
Any athlete in any sport wants to train to get better and now they have a tool that gives them the capability to track their performance,” says Matak.
 
For athletes, VERT allows both players and their coaches to monitor athletic performances by seeing real-time jump height and jump count data during actual performance or practice. Last year, USA Volleyball and VERT announced a partnership to begin using the wearable jump technology for their national team athletes and events. In fact, VERT has been designated as a USA Volleyball Official Supplier for Jump Technology.
 
The awareness and understanding of athletic jump load is important to maximizing the highest potential of athletes, as well as preventing injuries. VERT gives coaches and players the opportunity to manage and measure performance.
 
“Like a pitch count in baseball, the device gives you crucial information such as how many times you jumped in a given session,” says Matak. “In baseball, a pitcher can only throw so many times before fatigue sets in and he becomes at risk for an injury. During a volleyball or basketball practice, VERT can measure each athlete’s jump load to be sure they are not overdoing it, putting that player at risk for injury.”
 
Injury prevention is one of the biggest aspects of VERT, stresses Matak. “Most injury-prevention studies are not based on not actual data,” he says. “Once people really understand how many times you should be jumping in a practice just like a pitch count—and once that metric has been established as a norm—it’s going to help prevent many injuries such as ACLs and meniscus tears.”
 
With the VERT coach version, teams like the University of Florida, which was the first college to use the wearable device, can see the jump measurements of all their players at the same time on a smart device during practice.
 
“The trainer can use the device to look at it from an injury prevention point of view, while coaches can use it from a motivational point of view and select a leaderboard mode to see who has the best vertical for the practice and who has maintained their best average high,” says Matak.”
 
In addition to jump height and jump count, VERT also has a new jump rate feature, looking at your heart rate as you jump so many times in a timed session. While the device is popular among jump-dominated sports such as volleyball and basketball, Matak says his device can be used for any sport as well as individuals.
 
“You can use it for any fitness measurement, such as jumping rope,” says Matak. “It’s an exciting piece of athletic measurement that becomes very self-competitive. You want to be able to improve your jump rate score from the last time you did a jump rope or warm up session.”
 
For general jump technology purposes and for the most accuracy, the device itself is worn around the waist, either by the VERT training clip or integrated within an article of clothing such as the VERT active waistband.
 
“The most accurate way to measure vertical jump is with center body mass of an object,” says Matak. “When you wear it under your belly button, for safety reasons, you can slide and jump and not injure yourself. If you are wearing it solely for jump rate purposes, you can basically put it anywhere on your body because we are measuring impact.”
 
Matak is looking to expand the use of VERT for in-game and broadcast entertainment purposes as well. He would like to show the same data the users can see projected on stadium and arena digital scoreboards and on your television screen. VERT is currently testing the technology with ESPN.
 
“As a wearable device, our technology also lends itself to these entertainment purposes which is really exciting for us moving forward,” says Matak.

For more information on VERT, visit www.myvert.com

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