Thursday 20th June 2019

Injury Prevention Technology Put To The Test During 2016 Rio Olympics

Injury Prevention Technology Put To The Test During 2016 Rio Olympics

Injury Prevention Technology Put To The Test During 2016 Rio Olympics
Images via Kitman Labs

The dynamics of sports have always provided us with a variety of positive features, ranging from fan culture and personal development, to economic opportunities and especially life lessons. There is no definitive way to put into perspective the amount of time and effort athletes spend every day, improving themselves and crafting their skills to perform to the best of their abilities, and at the highest levels of competition. At times, it seems as though these athletes, whether they are our heroes, sworn rivals or even acquaintances, are simply nothing short of invincible.. While the invincibility factor may loom large, there is but another component of sports that has always been, and will always be indisputable; that component being injuries.

As vast and limitless as the enjoyments of sports may seem, injuries continue to be an undeniable setback for athletes and organizations at any level. To date, there is no definitive way the human body can avoid sustaining injuries through physical competition. However, the world of sports technology continues to work on ways to help prevent injuries and allow these athletes to continuously perform at their maximum abilities. Founded in November 2012, the sports and data technology company Kitman Labs, uses a unique Athlete Optimization System. This system allows team performance directors, coaches and trainers to understand how athletes are responding physically, as well as mentally to the stresses endured during training and exercise at levels of high competition.  Any signs of negative response can trigger the staff to adjust an athlete’s training and recovery program to proactively avoid injury.CMJ - GIF (1)

Utilizing the largest amount of sports and data scientists in the industry, Kitman Labs created this system using cloud-based software, which generates both intelligent and comprehensive results pertaining to each individual athlete. Made up of three assimilated components: Profiler, Capture, and Athlete, Kitman Labs dissects specific data in order to give real-time alerts to coaching staffs with details about why the athlete is at risk.

What makes Kitman Labs and their Athlete Optimization System work sports data and technology, is that these scientists and researchers are using preventative data to turn a possible risk into a positive for the future. Founder and CEO of Kitman Labs, Stephen Smith, weighed in on why he believes Kitman Labs is providing data like no other company before.

“Nobody has ever tried to combine all types of tech knowledge in terms of injuries – training, recovery, etc.,” says Smith. “The question is, how can we better manage our athletes? There is so much information available, but a lack of turning that information into preventative knowledge and decision making in real-time.”

Some of the major variables of research that are incorporated in the Athlete Optimization System include: Amount of gym repetitions, information on acceleration and deceleration, psychological factors (sleep, stress, mood, well being), biomechanical response, fatigue, soreness and methods of recovery that pertain to each individual athlete.  The system can help teams collect this data, or import data from other systems. In order to be able to dissect just how detrimental injuries are to a specific sport, here are some statistics that might help to put it in perspective:

  • During the 2015 MLB season, more than $714 million in player salaries was left on the bench due to injuries.
  • In the 2015 NFL season, $63 million were lost due to 48 ACL injuries, tallying a total of 5,447 days lost as a result.
  • In addition, 54% of the injuries sustained resulted from off the field, non-contact training.

For the last two years, Kitman Labs has researched and monitored five professional sports teams, applying their analytic expertise to help integrate specific injury prevention and recovery programs. Based on the results, Kitman Labs has aided in:

  • Decreasing season-ending injuries by 65%
  • Decreasing days lost due to injury by 41%
  • Decreased severe injuries (one month or longer) by 31%Capture1

“It’s not just about being able to track what these athletes do, it’s about tracking how they respond”, explains Smith. “The greatest thing about this system is that it continues to learn over time. For each athlete, teams can ensure that they can push themselves forward and get bigger, faster and stronger, while managing injury risk.”

In nowhere else are the terms “bigger, faster and stronger” more relevant than when discussing the Olympic Games, a culmination of the world’s greatest athletes competing at the highest levels of competition. With all of these athletes determined to perform at their absolute best, unfortunately the reality of injuries can’t be escaped. A recorded 25% of the injuries that occur during the Olympics are a result of training for the games, as well the recorded 1,000 injuries that took place during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, impacting just over 11% of the competing athletes.

Working with Kitman Labs in the upcoming 2016 Olympic Summer Games will be the highly favored South African 7 Rugby Team, as well the Irish Men’s National Hockey Team, who will be competing in their first ever Olympic hockey game in the country’s history.Athlete app

“These athletes are walking a tightrope,” Smith states. “They spend four years of their lives building up for this competition. If they stay away for too long, or train too little, they may not be able to compete at the highest level. It’s about trying not to fall on either side of the tightrope.”

Kitman Labs has been frequently highlighted in the media in various sports and technology related articles, and are always looking for teams and partners to get involved with helping to build performance and reduce injury through science. Using these tools, Kitman Labs will continue their journey using the world of sports science to help aid in beneficial research for injury prevention, and healthy futures for athletes everywhere.


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  • Kitman Labs Joins Forces With Australia’s National Rugby League Teams

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  • Notch Launches Its Smartphone-Based Wearable Sensor Technology

  • Kitman Labs Partners with The South African Rugby Union to Reduce Player Injury and Optimize Athlete Performance

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