26 Oct 2015 19:48 IST

Injury-prone sportspersons can just app it now

SAP’s sensor-based predictive tech can tell when the risk of sports injury is high

Singapore-based soccer team Home United’s goalkeeper Zulfairuuz Rudy, wearing a sensory vest under his jersey, moved with the deftness of a snow leopard as he performed a series of speed and agility drills.

Zulfairuuz Rudy showing the sensory vest

He was showing how German software giant SAP’s new application to reduce sports injuries works. The demonstration of the Injury Risk Monitor (IRM), part of the SAP Asia-Pacific Japan Media Summit, took place at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands hotel last week.

Risk and injury

The data captured from this exercise were immediately recorded and projected on the screen. Using data collected from sensors worn by the player – along with statistics collected from a player's entire career stored on SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform – IRM comes up with a percentage to indicate how likely each player is to injure himself or herself in his next match.

The program gathers data such as the athlete’s heart rate, respiratory rate, and distance travelled during training — measured using wearable and non-wearable devices during training sessions, physical fitness tests and matches.

The system also takes into account and records a player’s fitness levels based on diet, fitness regime and injury history, before applying a predictive mathematical formula to calculate if there is the likelihood of an injury taking place.
The data then translates into inferences by providing simple visualisations in the form of pie charts and graphs for coaches and medical practitioners, enabling them to zero in on problem areas and identify solutions.

Real-time insights

Dirk Schauenberg, Head of Sports Performance, Home United football club, speaking at the event, explained: “The technology allows coaches to track the physiological state of their players.”

They can now customise their players’ training regimes to improve their performance, and ultimately, that of the whole team’s. Such real-time use of data is new, and is extremely useful, he added. The fear of being benched or of having to retire prematurely from a thriving career owing to injury is a fear every athlete is forced to live with for a large part of their professional life. SAP’s IRM technology aims to address this need.

Gauging level of fitness

Sports physician Dr Roger Tian, medical director for the Singapore Sports Medicine Centre, said that around 70 per cent of injuries occur from overuse (of muscles).

When it comes to professional athletes, there are many important signs this technology can help us record. It can predict if athletes are pushing themselves too hard, or too little, he added.

While there has been a lot of interest expressed by cricket, baseball and football associations, Puneet Suppal, Solution Strategy and Adoption executive at SAP, stated that a time-frame for the release of the application to the market is still being considered.

*The writer was recently in Singapore at the invitation of SAP

Recommended for you