Aggie S&C program on cutting edge

A&M strength and conditioning program has a tool that is rare in the world of college athletics. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp visits with Director of Performance Nutrition Amy Bragg about a new piece of technology that gives A&M a leg up on its competition.

The Texas A&M athletic department spares no expense when it comes to providing its athletes with the very best equipment and technology. Whether it's the newest and largest basketball practice facility in the nation, a state of the art indoor track facility or one of e premier video production technology, Director of Athletics Bill Byrne has made it his No. 1 priority to provide his coaches and athletes with everything he can to help them recruit and win.

The A&M strength and conditioning program is no different.

In Janurary 2006, the department partnered with kinesiology to purchase a state-of-the-art GE Lunar body scan system, becoming the first school in the nation to use the DEXA technology. Even today, only Missouri and the Green Bay Packers have purchased the machine.

Director of Performance Nutrition Amy Bragg says it has already made a huge impact on the conditioning of the A&M athletes.

"It is definitely the newest technology there is for body composition testing," Bragg said. "It's basically an X-Ray and we take a snap shot of all of our guys when they get here to test their bones, how strong is their bone density, how much bone mass, lean mass and body fat they have. We get a snapshot when they come in and then a semester later, and then pre and post off-season allows you to actually see what you've achieved beyond the scale weight. The scale weight only tells you so much."

Bragg, who has been working with the machine for more than a year and a half now can even tell if an athlete is left-handed or right-handed, and sometimes, which sport the person plays just be looking at their bone structure.

The Aggies used the ‘Bod Pod' to test the body fat of their athletes prior to purchasing the new machine, a technology that is still used by most major universities and is part of the NFL draft combine. But Bragg says the old technology isn't near as informative.

"This is the next generation after the Bod Pod," Bragg said. "The Bod Pod would only give you lean mass and body fat, so the bones are kind of lost. This tells us how strong their skeleton is and it allows you to see your progress as you train heavily in the weight room as your bones get stronger."

Bragg said that the machine is used by nearly all of the various sports teams at A&M to help with strength and conditioning training, and that it's extremely helpful for the female athletes because of the higher risk of osteoporosis.

"If we have to, we can do calcium supplementation based on the results, so it's also a real value for the female athletes," she said.

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