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How IBM Helps Rugby Players Avoid Injuries

After proving its utility in the business environment, technology is making gradual inroads in all spheres of human activity, including even sports.

Tech company IBM believes that an emerging software technique called analytics is becoming a critical asset for professional sports teams, as sports increasingly becomes a technical and scientific business.

Like any commercial organization, Leicester Tigers, the nine times champion of English rugby union’s Premiership and two times European champion, is faced with challenges around growing and retaining talent, measuring performance, optimizing tactics and detecting risk.

The rugby team today, April 27, announced that it is using IBM predictive analytics software to assess the likelihood of injury to players and then use this insight to deliver personalized training programs for players at risk.

[ Also Read: BBC and Foursquare Team Up for 6 Nations Rugby ]

The ultimate aim for Leicester Tigers is to apply analytics in order to keep the team injury free for longer, because in the modern game, losing key players can negatively impact the team’s performance and potentially spectator attendance.

Earlier, tech leader Intel collaborated with industry experts and several universities to tackle the issue of football-related head injuries.

Using supercomputers and workstations based on present and future Intel processor technology, researchers simulate collisions to study the impact on the brain. They use that information to design new football helmets that reduce the risk of short- and long-term injuries. (Read: Intel Chips in to Make Football Helmets Safer)

Moreover, expanding on its relationship with Walt Disney World Resort, tech company HP had unveiled the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a project designed to deliver an immersive technology experience to the 2 million athletes, coaches and spectators that visit the complex each year. (Read: HP Goes with Disney, ESPN to Help Athletes)

Unlike spreadsheet-based statistical solutions, IBM predictive analytics is designed to enable Leicester Tigers to broaden and deepen the analysis of both objective and subjective raw data, such as fatigue and game intensity levels.

Hence, Leicester Tigers can rapidly analyze such physical and biological information for all 45 rugby players in its squad in order to detect and predict patterns or anomalies.

“Sport is no longer just a game, it’s becoming more and more a scientific undertaking which is driven by data and numbers,” said Jeremy Shaw, director, IBM Business Analytics for Media and Entertainment, United Kingdom.

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