U. of Oregon goes nutso for sports & science

When it comes to combining sports and science, the University of Oregon ain’t screwing around.

U. of O. just opened the Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center, with some seriously high-tech goodies. This thing looks like the inside of the Touchback (the team bus of the Ionath Krakens, the main team of the GFL series). Hell, the only thing missing is the Kreigs-Ballook Virtual Reality field.

Mariotta, the current starting QB of the Tennessee Titans in the NFL, won the Heisman Trophy in 2014 while playing for Oregon. As a three-season college starter, he led the Ducks to a 36-5 record. They’ve dedicated this impressive facility to him.

In uniquely Oregon style, the recently opened Marcus Mariota Sports Performance Center combines sports performance, sports science, sports medicine and technology in one efficiently designed space on the ground floor of the Casanova Center. Another part of the project, the overhaul of the equipment room, is a testament to style and function.

The 30,000-foot complex was primarily funded by Phil and Penny Knight. Phil Knight is the founder of Nike.

This hip video doesn’t talk about the goodies inside (I do a bit of that below), and is little more than a Nike commercial, but it’s short and worth a look to get the visual scope of this joint:

So what’s inside? Check out this list:

  • A “recovery study” area where analysts capture athlete’s baseline measurements via motion capture to identify any “deviations from a subject’s normal range, which can help identify where intervention needs to occur prior to injury.” So, yeah, this is MINORITY REPORT for sports injuries.
  • A psychology area that includes a “bone density scanner” as well as a “neurocognitive center” that will help diagnose and treat concussion symptoms. Concussions are a big part of the ongoing plot of the Galactic Football League. 
  • A movement area with 16 motion capture cameras and a 40-yard running track, which has its own set of motion capture cameras and force plates. This, I believe, will allow extensive analysis of athletes’ form and movement, allowing coaches to refine the process by which players do the work of their sport. That includes, probably, detailed examination of running form (hence the 40-yard track, as the 4o-yard-dash is a common measurement of speed for football. You may hear the words “he runs a 4.2 forty,” where the “4.2” is the number of seconds needed to run that distance. The lower the number, the faster your player is.
  • A passive recovery area, were “athletes can rest on recovery tables and utilize the popular pneumatic compression units, which assist the body’s circulation in order to speed recovery and decrease muscle soreness following a competition or practice.
  • Five sleep pods where student-athletes can take a nappy-poo between practices or meetings. I’m assuming these are more advanced than that smelly roll-out cot your uncle had in his basement.
  • A “helmet wall” that displays the numerous helmets worn by the UO football team (and holy crap do they wear a lot of different helmets), and behind that wall (I can only pray there is a secret door a-la an Evil Overlord hideout) is a “helmet construction workshop with overhead pneumatic drills and easily accessible components, meaning a NASCAR-like repair or rebuild of a helmet is now possible.”
  • An equipment room with has 2.5 miles of shelving that houses gear for baseball, across, soccer and acrobatics as well as — of course — football.
  • A laundry facility, called the Pond, can manage up to 500 pounds of laundry at once — yes, athletes make a lot of sweat.

While this facility will probably do a bunch-o good for the student-athletes, one of the main purposes of a facility like this is for recruiting. When high school jocks visit campus for any sport and consider playing at U. of O., you can bet they will be shown this facility as well as many others. Oregon simply does not mess around when it comes to spending cheese on top-notch facilities.

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