Injury prevention is of utmost importance irrespective of the sport. Every major sports organization – NBA, NFL, NHL – work towards safety of players. Wearable devices, as they get customized for various purposes, have found their way into all major professional sports in US.
Catapult Sports is one such company that provides wearable devices and an analytics platform to monitor player activity and understand their stress and strains to help prevent injuries. The device weighs less than an ounce and is worn by the player under the jersey. The device tracks basic data such as distance travelled, running speed, and health and fatigue related information. It captures information about players’ accelerations and decelerations, impact of jumping and landing, and if a player is favoring one leg over another among other things. This information provides insights about player fatigue and indications of impeding or existing injuries such as muscle tears, ligament ruptures, and soft-tissue injuries. A microprocessor collects and parses 1000 data points per second. These are sent to the trainer screen with the help of GPS or an indoor location-positioning system. The data and the analytics platform are key tools to measure players’ health, but questions of data privacy, data visibility — which person gets to view what information and how teams should use the data — remain to be fully resolved.
Several NBA teams are already using these devices in practice sessions as of now but the NBA ecosystem – players, their agents, team owners, coaches, union, and other involved members – has yet to figure out how to make the best use of such technologies.