Sports MRI – how next generation imaging systems are giving greater insights

Author(s): Dr Steve McNally

Hospital: Manchester United Football Club

Reference: RAD Magazine, 46, 542, 15-16


There has been a long-standing need for diagnostic imaging information to help quickly identify, prevent and treat injury in valuable elite athletic assets, such as footballers in the Premier League. Demand to pre-empt future conditions and manage the long-term performance of players through pro-active health surveillance is now on the increase. The long-term value of a sports person impacts the bottom line at many sporting organisations, and therefore a breadth of medical imaging modalities and technologies is required to unlock information from deep within the body.

We are lucky in sports medicine that the pace of innovation in next generation imaging systems is evolving swiftly. While ultrasound has to date been the quick de facto choice, the depth of information delivered by the larger modalities such as MRI is expanding through next generation developments, giving much more data to base decisions on. The procedural times of MRI, for example, were once considered a negative factor but are now discernibly quicker as innovative software applications automate operational and clinical processes. In addition, image outputs are greatly improved to give rich clarity of detail to assist with sports science management.

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