Tag: sports wearables

Wearable technology is bringing up questions in ethics in pro sports

As wearables continue to evolve, leagues are finding themselves asking many new questions about its use.

There is no question that wearable technology has an amazing amount of potential when used by players in professional sports leagues, but the specific way in which collected data is used is starting to generate a massive number of ethical questions.

Athletes already have massive amounts of data collected and analyzed about their performances on the field.

For many years, leagues have been measuring how fast athletes move, how far they run, how fast they throw, how frequently they score and a great deal more. In fact, the data collection has become quite specific. It’s possible to know the average speed of a pitcher during his or her second inning of play while at a home game, while playing on an even numbered day of the month. With wearable technology, the amount of data collected is even greater, with a larger amount of specificity.

Wearable technology measures precise performance factors, health metrics and even tracks a player’s sleep.

Wearable Technology - Pro SportsA recent tech conference held in Toronto, Canada held a panel on wearables and brought up the issue of privacy that is inherent to this increasingly popular trend in pro sports. While it is not unheard of for a team to want to know everything it can about its players in order to ensure the best possible performance while reducing the risk of injury, what is not yet outlined is at what point does it cut into the rights of the player to his or her own privacy.

Among the key factors being discussed in this wearables debate is that the evolution of technology has occurred more quickly than the collective bargaining agreements that decide the way that pro leagues and their players interact. For instance, the NFL now has its players wearing radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips that are located in their shoulder pads. This allows the movements of each player to be tracked and transmitted in real-time. That tech allows broadcasters to share distance traveled during a run and other interesting data while the game is still in play.

However, new wearable technology can also help to track a great deal more and provides a broader amount of information about a player’s health and lifestyle. The question now being asked is: at what point has the tracking gone too far.

Wearable technology is the “Next Big Opportunity”, says 49ers CEO

Jed York has stepped well beyond simply being curious about this tech and is prepared to broaden its use.

CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, Jed York, has said that wearable technology is a great deal more than simply being intriguing, and he is now prepared to use it as a more important part of his strategy for the players.

York has expressed that the data collected through wearables can be invaluable for several goals.

He stated that wearable technology may be great for helping to enhance the performance of athletes, but that this is only the beginning of its potential. He also believes that these gadgets can help to lengthen the careers of the players. Wearables are already being widely used by players as a tool to assist them in the preparations for their NFL careers, but it is York’s belief that adopting these devices for safety purposes and to help to prevent injuries are the areas in which there is the most to gain.

York is hoping to be able to use wearable technology to keep players off the injured list and in the game.

Wearable Technology - San Francisco 49ersWhen speaking, recently, he asked “How do you get a guy to play 18 years in the league?… Or keep someone healthy for 16 games or an entire basketball season? I think you’re going to see analytics work for health and safety more so than calling better plays or drafting better players.”

The NFL has been placing an ever growing focus on player safety, to the point that it is now considered to be an extremely important issue. When taking into consideration the fact that the average NFL player’s career will last only just over three seasons, it doesn’t take long to figure out why this has been taken very seriously. Moreover, it is also becoming widely known that retired players are regularly having to cope with major health issues later on in their lives. League-wide changes to the rules have had to take place as a result of the prevalence of concussions in the game.

Many companies, such as Under Armour and Nike, are now pouring millions of dollars into the development of wearable technology devices that will help to keep players from becoming injured through techniques such as tracking the frequency and severity of hits, particularly when they involve the head.