Tigers trial injury-predicting software
December 20, 2012
Players such as Ben Youngs could benefit from the new software © Getty Images
The Leicester Tigers have revealed that they have been trialling a new piece of scientific equipment that allows them to predict when their players will suffer an injury.
The club has been running the programme for the past two weeks and the software monitors every aspect of the player's physical stature. According to the Telegraph, the technology behind the venture is analytics software and it has so far predicted nine injuries from the past two games.
"Key player availability is one of the key drivers of team performance," Andrew Shelton, Leicester's head of sports science, told the Telegraph. "So we started searching for something to manage all the data that we have got and help us attempt to predict when players were going to be unavailable through illness and injury.
"We are confident that, by adopting IBM predictive analytics, our team will be able to leverage data about the physical condition of players for the first time and considerably enhance our performance."
The ground-breaking project is being run on an experimental basis. "We are running the whole team as a control group," Shelton added. "From the last two weeks we have had 13 injuries or varying severity. The model has picked up nine of those. Either the data is not quite accurate enough yet to predict the injuries it missed or the injuries would have occurred regardless of whether they was fatigue on the tissue in the first place."
And Shelton is hopeful that the software will become more accurate as they continue to use it. "We measure subjective data from the players, things that affect their well-being such as hours of sleep," Shelton said. "Then there is objective data as well. The players wear GPS units in training and in games, which gives us an idea about the movement of the player and the sort of forces that might be going through their body.
"We can also collect some collision data as well, so we can get a really good idea about everything that the players are doing on the training ground and during games. Similarly we also collect data on previous injuries that they had and what they are doing in the gym, basically everything they do from when they walk in the door of the club in the morning and leave in the evening is collected.
"The IBM package stores our historic data and then we run our new data set through that existing model. It allows us to analyse whether this new data looks like something we have seen in the past that has led to an injury. It gives us a prediction, a measure of confidence in the prediction and risk percentage."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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