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NFL Utilises Artificial Intelligence to Revolutionise Injury Prevention in Football



In a groundbreaking move aimed at addressing the perennial issue of injuries in football, the National Football League (NFL) has launched its "digital athlete" initiative, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse players' movements with the goal of minimising injuries.


Jennifer Langton, NFL Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Innovation, provided insights into the innovative data collection process during an exclusive interview on "The Claman Countdown" on Monday. Langton emphasised the pioneering nature of the technology, describing it as the first of its kind and a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).


"This is a first. It is a partnership with AWS. And we've always called it the next generation of player health and safety at the NFL. What it does is the technology itself uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to create a precise picture of each player. And when I say each player, it's the players' experience in training, practice, and game," Langton explained to FOX Business' Liz Claman.


The technology enables teams to tailor training programs to meet individual players' specific needs, focusing on aspects such as injury prevention, quick recovery, and performance optimisation. Langton highlighted the potential for the technology to predict injuries in the future based on vast amounts of collected data.


"We collect a vast amount of data. This is one example in shoulder pads, which are worn, of course, all practice and in-game. We have a zebra technology, which is a sensor in the shoulder pad, that captures every single time a player is on the field, whether that is practice or games. What it does is it captures the player's real-time location, speed, acceleration, and distance," Langton explained.


In addition to shoulder pad sensors, researchers gather data through mouthguards that track the frequency and intensity of head impact contact. Langton outlined how sophisticated technology, including computer vision and machine learning, automates data analysis in real time to identify potential injury risks and provide teams with daily insights to adjust training loads accordingly.


"This allows us to automate in real time. It actually time synchronises all of the data points and runs millions of simulations about either an event in the game so that we can actually have a better understanding of when and how injuries happen. And then from that, we're able to do risk modelling to give the teams, on a daily basis, which players right now are at a higher risk of injury so that they can change their training loads and measurements," she elaborated.


Langton clarified that the technology is not intended to replace NFL medical teams but rather to enhance their capabilities, enabling trainers to work more efficiently and intelligently in managing training regimes and individual player workloads.

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