Injury analytics and the power of data
Published: 24 Jun 2015
The Prozone Performance.LAB was recently launched at Prozone’s inaugural Innovation Seminar in London.
As part of the event, Dr. Laurence Heslop, co-founder of Benchmark54, gave a presentation on the subject of injury analytics and the power of data to support more effective athlete monitoring and injury prevention and management.
Player health is the number one concern of clubs. Injuries do not just cost wins, they cost money. A player at a Champions League-level club costs their club €600,000 per month of injury. With the total number of injury days ranging from 200 to 1,500 per year/ per club it is easy to see the importance of injury prevention strategies. Yet injury prevention and management remains the largest market inefficiency in professional sport.
In the last few years there has been an explosion in data collection at clubs. Players are now among the most studied individuals on the planet. Physical attributes, movement patterns, wellness, training load and even blood chemistry and are regularly gathered by clubs looking for patterns of early distress. Despite the huge expansion in data collection the duration of common time loss injuries remains constant.
The key reason for this is that data analysis at club level is underpowered due to the small sample size, higher turnover of players and limited access to previous medical history of new players. These limitations are the main reasons clubs are willing to share anonymised data with league wide injury audits. Such audits help clubs benchmark their medical performance against other teams of a similar standing and put their injury burden into perspective.
In recent years we have seen the UEFA Champions League injury audit and the English Premier League injury audit provide this type feedback to clubs. However, in the last 16 years these audits have changed very little in the design. By failing to adapt and change, it can be argued that they now lack relevance to the modern game. Main criticisms include:
- The injury incidence (total of injuries per thousand hours) gives no indication of the intensity and load placed on players during these hours of game play and training.
- A injured player is considered ‘fully fit’ when they return to full participation. Any exacerbation of an unresolved injury is then counted as a re-injury, and recorded as a new incident. This results in a higher incidence of injury.
- Current audits do not have the ability to track GPS, wellness, match performance or any of the other data collected by clubs to assess their association with injury.
- Current audits are limited to time loss injuries only. All the emphasis is placed on the recording of time-loss injuries rather than the accumulation non-time loss injuries that may have preceded an injury. Without the pre-injury data clubs cannot identify patterns associated with injury to apply prospectively in their injury prevention strategies.
- Reports generated for clubs are often based on quarterly historical data, so by the time they arrive they are already out-of-date.
Prozone Performance.LAB provides a unique solution to all these issues. Not only are we able to produce real-time audit but, for the first time, we are able to offer a unique insight into the role of injury in player performance. Prozone analyses over 750,000 data points per game, 300 GPS data points per training session and 110 data points per injury to create the most comprehensive injury database in sport. By analysing over 36 million data points per club/per season we aim to identify the subtle patterns in a player's performance that predispose them to increased relative risk of injury allowing club to act to prevent injury.
Combining medical, physiological, training and match data allows teams using Performance.LAB to provide valuable insights to its clients regarding player readiness, recovery and risk profile by helping to define individual player performance windows.
Prozone Performance.LAB is a 21st century solution designed to reduce the financial and performance impact of injuries in the age of big data. Benchmark 54 is an online medical record system, compatible with UEFA Champion’s league injury audit and validated by the Football Research Group. Together, we can provide new market-leading insights on the impact of injury on performance.
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