American football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the USA, over 37% of the country chose it as their favorite. This means the NFL is subsequently the largest league in the states, averaging roughly 17.1 million viewers every season.
The sport’s popularity stems from its fast-paced, high-intensity nature but it is this exact thing that has also made it extremely dangerous.
The average NFL game result in at least one injury to a player and the spotlight on the regularity of concussions is becoming brighter.
To help reduce the risk of serious injuries the NFL has turned towards technology.
But how can technology help?
In recent years, the league has invested heavily in data collection which they hope can pinpoint major safety issues. Data analysis has always been heavily present in the NFL and has aided viewers and bookmakers to help predict outcomes.
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The NFL used a team of biochemical engineers to help test the safety of their helmets. The Biocore team tested their equipment in a laboratory that is used to evaluate the safety of cars.
The results of the test were then transformed into a readable graphic and then printed on posters. These posters rank the safety of the helmets used by the players and are present in every team’s locker room.
The posters also include a list of prohibited helmets in red, which performed very poorly in the evaluation.
A biochemical testing device that monitors how NFL players’ cleats interact with the turf on the field. The NFL started using the BEAST in 2017, as a way to test the safety of shoes used by the players.
The machine replicates the force generated by players when they push off the ground and is primarily designed to reduce ankle sprains.
It has had a huge impact on cleat producers who have discontinued certain designs that don’t bode well in this regard.
The data which has been produced from the study has inadvertently led to the most accurate digital model of an ankle in existence. This has benefitted individuals outside the sport like orthopedic companies.
The Digital Athlete
Artificial intelligence is yet again being utilized by major industries for the good of the company.
On this occasion, the NFL is using machine learning to build a digital version of their typical athlete. By running this simulation countless times and monitoring the results, they can help predict the cause of injuries and eventually better prevent them.
The team behind the simulation can input different variables like the equipment that was being used and observe how the results differ.
The integration of technology into the NFL can not just make for a better viewing experience but will benefit every player in the league.