It’s not uncommon to go to a basketball game early and see players wearing headphones while warming up before the game. In fact, it’s pretty rare for a young athlete to enter an arena without them.
So it was strange to hear UC student Trevor Moore ask Bob Mangine (Senior Associate AD / Medical Services) where his headphones were a game.
“You should know,” replied Mangine.
To be fair, the headphones didn’t belong to Moore. And while they are playing music, their main function is to stimulate the athlete’s brain in a massaging manner while they are physically active.
It started four years ago when Mangine received halo headphones from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Mangine has extensive experience researching physical therapy and exercise training and has regularly consulted and used various devices to aid athletic improvement and injury prevention.
Andy McKinley of the Air Force Research Lab at Wright-Patterson, near Dayton, introduced Mangine to transcranial direct stimulation and how it can improve brain function visually and through creative development of cognitive skills.
“It’s like muscle memory,” Mangine said of the process. “Let’s say I want to be a better golfer and do 10,000 strokes a day like the pros do. They want to try to preserve muscle memory to replicate the perfect swing. The (basketball) kids can try again, too Get a good shot. If you stimulate them for over 20 minutes, they will be in this learning mode (with) increased focus for up to six hours. “
Now there are several headphones at the Bearcats in the Fifth Third Arena and on basketball road trips. Massage sensors are paired to the athlete’s phone via Bluetooth and the technology then goes to work. While the UC athletes pick up good vibrations, they’re not limited to the Beach Boys. The app allows the music of their choice while stimulating them to a state of mind suitable for their competition.
Overall, the numbers have improved for most bearcats who bypassed beats for scheduled stimulation. A year ago, Justin Jenifer shot 36 percent off the floor and a little less from the edge. This season he is the best 3-point shooter in the American Athletic Conference at 0.462 and shoots a total of 451. Jarron Cumberland rose from .339 to .425.
“The kids like it,” said Mangine. “Last year, Gary (Clark) and Jacob (Evans III) wore them every day. They wore them before the games, played with them before the games. I felt like after that project we were ready to expand this year. “
It should be noted that Clark and Evans both advanced to the NBA.
Even the replacement rebound machine Eliel Nsoseme has improved his free throws a bit from last year when he was only 4 against 20. He’s only 9 for 24 now, but believes the headphones have helped him in other areas.
“I’ve really improved my shooting and legs from the stimulation of my brain,” said Nsoseme. “I’ve improved a lot since I haven’t used it until I am now. We have a bluetooth connection that we can use to listen to music and get suggestions at the same time.”
Mangine added, “We’re looking specifically at Justin’s (Jenifer) matrices, and we’re looking specifically at Eliel (Nsoseme). They’ve improved quite a bit.”
Many Bearcat athletes use the headphones in the weight room, where different modes have been developed for working on the lower body and upper body.
The University of Cincinnati Sports Medicine staff have previously used the devices in soccer, basketball, baseball, and cross-country skiing. Organizations like the San Francisco Giants and the United States Ski Team also make use of the Halo headphones, which are just one of the various research programs UC has been involved in since returning to college under Mangine in 2002. Previously, he was involved with clinical practice and research and development programs. Since 2008, he has published an estimated 15 research papers in sports medicine.
UC introduced visual training through Dynavision a few years ago. Dynavision is an illuminated board that the athlete taps where he sees a flashing light. This technology has since gained acceptance in many large schools and in various sports, as well as in some high schools. The headphones also improved this measurement.
“Every child we have stimulated (stimulated) has actually improved their visual acuity on Dynavision,” said Mangine. “Dynavision, my goodness is at the University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, Tulsa, visual training has skyrocketed now.”
Mangine believes the vibrating headphones can take off in the same way, especially if the numbers are skewed for what they are.
“I think we’re looking at an area of research that has a long way to go, but I think they’ve only made tremendous strides in the last five to eight years,” said Mangine. “We are blessed to have great coaches here at UC. That makes it a lot easier for me to have Mick (Cronin) as head coach because he is very supportive of our work. I think our assistant coaches are great at developing Skills Our players. They watch the kids who come in as newbies and until they finish what they can do. “
Wright-Patterson’s Lt. Adam Irwin is in charge of the research laboratory at the Fairborn base where UC’s numbers are assessed. This relationship allows UC to keep up with larger institutions. Navy Seals has also visited and consulted with UC and Mangine on technology, techniques, and methodology.
Among other enhancement technologies you can find at UC’s Lindner Center is Float Research, which is exactly as described. A float tank allows an athlete to move around in the water in a state of relaxation that has been found to be helpful for performance and recovery. On the day of this interview, the Nysier Brooks UC center had rested on the water for an hour.
While the hopeful by-product of all research is improved performance, Mangine’s ultimate goal is different.
“The main goal must be to prevent injuries,” said Mangine. “Just like Dynavision did for our concussion program, I think these (Halo headphones) can help us prevent injury by being better trained and being able to better control our bodies on the pitch and on the field. We want to be the group that is, ‘This works and that’s what you have to do.’ “