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MSS professor Marilyn Oliver has new insight on ACL injuries

“A Sabbatical Saga: Frustrating, Formative, and Fulfilling” was the title of Marilyn Oliver’s faculty lecture Monday. Oliver, professor of movement and sports science, explained how her sabbatical helped her to become an expert at the video analysis software Dartfish. Oliver demonstrated the software and its utility for instructors athletes and researchers. / photo by Jakeh Landrum

Michael Phillips
LV Life Editor

Marilyn Oliver, professor of movement and sports science, presented her lecture “A Sabbatical Saga: Frustrating, Formative, Fulfilling (and Dartfish Thrown in for Fun)” on Monday in the President’s Dining Room.

She started her sabbatical with a few goals: to find collaboration research opportunities for MSS students, to work with the Casa Colina Center for Rehabilitation in Pomona, and to assist local high schools with establishing ACL injury prevention programs for female athletes.

“First frustration was in pre-planning,” Oliver said. “It took months to connect with the personnel at Casa Colina and they are almost ready to have some of the students work there.”

The next hurdle Oliver faced was her own tennis-related knee injury. She spent sabbatical time having knee surgery, then post surgery rehab. Oliver, shared photos of herself entering rehab and of her rehab sessions.

She described rehab as being elucidating since she got to see first hand what many student athletes go through. She had never had an MRI before, so that alone was an experience.

“I had the time in my sabbatical to go to rehab and work ‘Dartfish’ around it.”

The fulfillment section of her sabbatical included an ACL presentation, a renewal of friendships, new insights and other things, Oliver said.

Her description of the Dartfish program and its uses was perhaps the most interesting part of her lecture.

Dartfish is a video analysis program, that can be used as a teaching tool for athletes and others.

For the Dartfish section of her lecture, Oliver showed the audience a clip of golfer Tiger Woods hitting a ball. She was able to zoom in, slow it down, and display each movement leading up to the swing.

“We can download a professional golfer and video tape our student in class … and compare the two to help them build skill and technique,” Oliver said.

Then she showed a La Verne athlete demonstrating a javelin throw, then the same athlete two months later. Using Dartfish, Oliver was able to freeze frames, and freeze every step the athlete made before releasing the javelin, pinpointing any flaw that was made in the process. By watching herself via Dartfish the athlete was able to increase her throw by 30 feet.

“Watching the javelin throw was kind of enlightening,” said Professor of Music Reed Gratz , who attended the Monday lecture “I could teach piano with this, or a vocal performance.”

Although ULV athletes approach Oliver to record them via Dartfish the La Verne sports teams have yet to incorporate it in their regimen.

“I think it’s a very awesome program, I think it could help out our sports team,” Margo Cash, art and history major said.

Michael Phillips can be reached at

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