LANCASTER, Texas — Athletes within the Lancaster Independent School District took some cutting-edge tests on Tuesday that district officials hope will better shield them from future injuries.
The district is now partnering with Elite X 360, a sports company founded by Shane Scott in Missouri that uses motion-sensing cameras to track and evaluate an athlete's movements.
Elite X 360 is now making its home in Dallas.
Scott places athletes in front of a Microsoft Kinect camera and asks them to perform basic movements, like touching their toes or bending back as far as they can.
They're also asked to stand on one leg, do lunges and overhead squats, and to leap in the air off of one foot.
Their movements are then processed by a computer program that pinpoints where they could improve their balance, symmetry, flexibility and mobility.
Scott said that showing athletes their weaknesses in those areas could indicate where they are more likely to have a non-contact injury, such as a torn ACL or MCL.
More than 200,000 people tear an ACL every year.
"We can actually see injuries and identify them in young athletes before they happen," Scott said. "We're able to look for dysfunctions in your movement patterns so we can address them."
Scott actually started the company after his daughter Sophia, who was a top soccer prospect, tore her ACL twice.
"This is the 'why' for me," Scott said. "If we can keep one or two kids from having that same kind of devastation that she had, then we're setting out to do what we intended to do."
Scott said that the data also shows athletes how they can get better.
Lancaster ISD said that every athlete competing during the fall semester was tested.
That includes senior Lorando 'Lando' Johnson, who is ranked as a top 15 cornerback nationwide per ESPN.
Johnson was offered scholarships at schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Baylor, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss. He eventually committed to LSU earlier this year.
When he took the test Tuesday, he learned that his ankle and shoulder mobility was his biggest weaknesses.
"My balance is worse than I thought," Johnson said. "I knew I wasn't flexible, but I didn't know I was that bad. If I had a good season with that balance, then I can get a better season if I get better at it."
Each test costs about $125, but since Scott's company works with the non-profit Leveling the Playing Field and utilizes grant funding, the district doesn't have to pay a dime.
Officials said they plan to bring Scott back to re-test spring semester athletes next year.
"The outcome, the opportunity for not being injured and playing injury-free, is so much better," Scott said.
Scott also performs cognitive testing for possible concussions.