Jan 4, 2017
Immediate Impact

Image by Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0

Proper recovery is essential to the health and performance of any athlete. After breaking down their muscles during exercise and competition, there are a number of ways that athletes can refuel their bodies and repair their damaged muscle. One of the newest methods for recovery is using a portable neuromuscular electro-stimulation device called Firefly.

A small strap that can be placed just under the knee, the Firefly sends an electrical impulse to the peroneal nerve to stimulate blood flow in the lower leg. This can also help send more blood back to the heart, increasing circulation and helping to minimize delayed onset muscle soreness without the athlete having to exert any extra energy. Another benefit is that the strap is portable and can be used immediately after a workout or competition, giving the body a jump-start on its recovery.

This football season, players on the Jacksonville Jaguars used Firefly to help with their recovery right after games. It proved especially useful following road games when athletes were sitting on the plane heading home.

“Cold tubs, massage… all of those work and are part of the routine, but the Firefly technology helps us start our players toward recovery immediately after the game,” Jaguars Physical Therapist and Associate Athletic Trainer Robby Hoenshel, DPT, CSCS, PES, CES, told News4Jax.com. “Designed to be both portable and affordable, post-game, on a flight, resting and recovering, it’s a good time to get that in.”

It’s typical for athletes to feel stiff and sore on the plane ride, but Firefly was able to alleviate some of those issues while still allowing players to sleep.

“Coming back from [our game in] London, I had these on and was still able to get a lot of rest,” said Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Hurns. “You feel little twitches but nothing that keeps you away from your sleep.”

All Jaguars starters use Firefly regularly, but the tool is available to all players.

“We’ve had good success and guys are starting to ask for them,” said Hoenshel.

Recovery is not just for the pros, however. In recent years, exercise scientists and athletic trainers have stressed the importance of recovery for all athletes, no matter the level of competition. This tool can aid them, as well.

“Any weekend athlete will benefit from [the Firefly],” said Jaguars team physician Kevin Kaplan, MD. “There are a lot of things that go into recovery — a lot of pieces to the puzzle.

“As we all work out we know we’re tearing muscle and creating byproducts of exercise. Everybody feels great when they leave the gym,” Dr. Kaplan continued. “But the next day, you get that delayed muscle soreness and fatigue. You want to get rid of those byproducts that build up in your muscles to speed up recovery.”

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