The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way athletes and athletic trainers manage recovery, healing, and performance optimization. Supporting athlete wellness is as important as ever, but now it comes with additional challenges and urgency, including ensuring limited contact during treatment, respecting social distancing guidelines, restricting interpersonal interactions, and the increased need for sterilization and sanitation.
How will this impact the traditional processes and technologies for athletic training rooms, which typically have been the center for recovery treatment? Are there alternative recovery solutions available that can be affordably and effectively integrated into athletic training rooms, or evolve beyond the athletic training room in response to COVID-19 concerns?
Alternative recovery solutions should enable athletes to spend less time in athletic training rooms, while enabling athletes to recover safely at home. The firefly™ recovery device is one solution that is already being utilized by over one hundred professional sports teams and thousands of athletes.
The firefly™ recovery device is a small, multi-use, portable and disposable device that is worn bilaterally on the knees to increase blood flow and enhance recovery. It is placed over the fibular head, so that the electrodes stimulate the peroneal nerve. The peroneal nerve provides sensation and motor function to several muscles in the lower leg; simply stimulating the peroneal nerve provides effective stimulation to each of those individual muscles.
The simultaneously stimulated muscles experience contractions, which increases systemic blood flow by 62% and lower extremity blood flow by 400%, comparable to increases achieved from walking. Increased blood flow reduces lower extremity delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), relieves fatigue, and boosts overall athletic recovery results. Nerve stimulation, instead of muscle stimulation used by other types of devices, is the key differentiator that makes the firefly™ more effective.
Here are some of the ways that firefly™ fits into the post-COVID-19 recovery environment:
Personal use. firefly™ is designed to be used by a single athlete, with no assistance needed from an athletic trainer or specialist to apply it. Each athlete can get 6-8 uses, with no sharing and no extra contact from another person. The firefly™ device is different from other compression systems like NormaTec and RecoveryPump, which are bulky, difficult to use outside the athletic training room and are typically shared with multiple athletes. The firefly™ is the ultimate in hygienic, effective and simple to-deploy recovery treatment.
More is better. Treatment duration with the firefly™ is 2-4 hours, which maximizes the effectiveness of stimulation and increased blood flow. The use of devices like NormaTec or RecoveryPump is typically limited to 30-60 minutes per session, because of the requirements for space and the need to share between multiple athletes. The firefly™ does not have those limitations and allows athletes to receive treatment for the full amount of time deemed most effective in clinical studies. It also directly stimulates the peroneal nerve instead of individual muscles, which reduces muscle fatigue and allows for longer recovery sessions.
Versatility. Because the firefly™ is a small, personal recovery solution, athletes can use it nearly anytime and anywhere. Many professional athletes must go directly from a game to traveling on a bus or airplane, which does not allow time for proper recovery. The firefly™ can be used while sitting, walking, at altitude, and during travel – it is immediately accessible to provide recovery treatment and relief when athletes need it most.
Convenience. Enabling athlete recovery outside of the athletic training room requires a solution that is easy for athletes to use. The firefly™ is small, can be used multiple times, and is disposable. Athletes simply need to review some brief instructions to get started using the firefly™ – no special tools or medical knowledge is required, and it can be used virtually anywhere.
Moving ahead, we all recognize that athletic training rooms can be a COVID-19 danger zone. Contact between multiple athletic trainers and athletes, lack of social distancing, and sharing treatment equipment each present infection risks. One positive diagnosis could risk shutting down an athletic training room and team, so it is critical to successfully manage these risk factors and reduce the potential for contagion.
Technology innovation is rising to meet the challenge. The firefly™ is a recovery solution that offers safe, personalized, affordable, and effective treatment for elite athletes. It is clinically proven to:
firefly™ rovides a technology and science-driven recovery treatment solution in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evolve your recovery environment to safely, effectively, and responsibly provide treatment to your athletes.