Imagine possibly getting further insights into New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's sleeping habits? Or tracing Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's recovery patterns after an injury?
The National Football League Players Association said Monday it's partnering with Whoop to provide wrist-worn monitors to measure heart rate, fatigue and recovery levels. Each of the league's nearly 2,000 players will have the option to wear a Whoop Strap 2.0 during their offseason workouts.
The biometric monitors are different from the NFL-owned, nickel-sized Zebra sensors worn during games and practices that mostly track player movement and exertion.
The deal is a part of a partnership with the NFLPA's One Team Collective, the union's business accelerator. Talks began shortly after Whoop won a pitch day competition for sports-focused tech companies during Super Bowl week in Houston.
"This data will be extremely useful to our players," said Ahmad Nassar, president of NFL Players Inc., the union's licensing and marketing arm. "We want to capture data beyond the NFL season and make sure they are taking care of their bodies and getting enough rest, especially during the offseason."
This could give players some extra motivation to stay fit as their teams may directly benefit as a result, said Ram Shalev, the CEO of PhysiMax, an Israeli-based company that helps pro athletes recover from movement-based injuries.
"A greater number of the players will most likely report to training camp in better shape and in peak physical condition," he said.
This isn't the only deal Boston-based Whoop has in professional sports. Last month, Major League Baseball agreed to let players to wear Whoop monitors during games following a study in cooperation with MLB that showed a correlation between monitoring recovery and injury and the quality of hitting and pitching.
"We're still in the early stages of how athletes use wearable equipment," said Courtney Brunious, associate director for the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California. "You have some players who will be highly into the technology aspect the data will provide, and others who are concerned about their privacy and don't want to be tracked."
In addition to being able to monitor how training, injuries like concussions and traveling affect their bodies, the NFL players will also have a minority stake in Whoop. The agreement gives them the right to sell their data to broadcast networks and sports sites and to have it used in scientific research, said Whoop CEO Will Ahmed.
"This is a first-of-its-kind deal. We're talking about the recovery of players and them benefitting from it physically and fiscally," he said. "The NFLPA is being really forward-thinking in terms of having players think more about health and safety and how to extend their careers."
First published April 25, 7:09 a.m. PT.
Update, 4:24 p.m.: Adds comment from a sports injury expert.
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