Football leagues and equipment manufacturers are under growing scrutiny to better protect players from head injuries due to the recent focus on the effects of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Particular focus has been paid to proper tackling form, as players who correctly orient their heads and body to tackle with their shoulders and chest can reduce the incidence of head injuries. However, there are no existing tools that can provide a player and his coach feedback on tackling posture during live practices and games. To help address this issue, University of Michigan engineers have developed a system using equipment-embedded inertial measurement units (IMUs) that will allow coaches and trainers to wireless monitor the body orientation of players and provide feedback on safer tackling technique.
Live wireless feedback enables immediate correction to avoid injuries
Using proven IMU technology from navigation, sensor data from accelerometers and gyroscopes can be fused to provide a robust measure of orientation. An array of as few as two IMUs in helmets and shoulder pads can wirelessly provide streaming body information from multiple players to coaches and trainers on the sidelines and alert them to improper tackling technique. The ability to identify players and performances of concern is a significant advantage over traditional methods such as video analysis, which is time consuming, hard to consistently interpret, and only available for use after the practice or game. The rapid availability of performance information will allow coaches to better train their players and enhance over safety in football.
- Live tracking of player tackling form
- Other metrics of performance such as player speed and movement
- Embedded sensors require no additional equipment.
- One trainer can wireless follow multiple players or an entire team at the same time.
- Immediate feedback allows for constant refinement in player technique.