From smart footballs to contact tracing: How NFL players are preparing for the big game
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From smart footballs to contact tracing: How NFL players are preparing for the big game

Sports
[MUSIC] Welcome to Tech behind the game. I'm clay Matthews, the big game is approaching. So let's go behind the scenes and take a look at the technology that drives so many aspects of the sport from training to the current pandemic and beyond. Even in these crazy times, the league uses tech to connect with fans and keep athletes safe. This year I was especially interested in the contact tracing technology, the league used to keep teams as safe as they could throughout the season, here's Kara to tell us more. Clay, as you know training is everything in the NFL, the way to get better, stronger, and stay healthier. Some of the most elite players in the game like the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick mahomes are strapping on woop fitness monitors to keep track of all of their vitals, heart rate, respiratory rate, sleep and even strain. That's the calculation of how much stress you're putting on your body. Then whoops algorithms will calculate how much sleep and recovery time a player needs. All of this data can be shared with coaches and trainers to make sure their players aren't overworking their bodies. More than 1000 players from the NFL have turned to whoop over the last few seasons to improve their physical conditioning. But of course, football players have to be mentally strong to. Six NFL teams are using virtual reality software from Striver to help get their players heads in the game, a player typically a quarterback, but sometimes a linebacker or kicker would wear the VR headset and then go through drills to practice making decisions in high pressure scenarios. This allows them to get in those extra reps outside of practice while giving their bodies a rest. Striver develops the software and produces the videos the athletes are seeing inside their headsets. The goal is to give them an immersive learning experience where they can replicate real movements and decisions in order to improve these behaviors at game time. And that's why experts say that virtual reality can be more effective than the traditional watching of videos to prepare. And when it comes to Game Day, of course these players want to learn how their hard work has paid off. That's why every NFL players uniform has two or three nickel sized sensors embedded just under their shoulder pads. These radio frequency identification or RFID tags made by zebra measure the player's running speed, distance travelled and a host of other stats. The real time data these sensors record can help the players train. Coaches strategize and scouts recruit And it's not just the players wearing the chips, but the equipment to. Zebra sensors are also embedded inside the footballs, for the most accurate real time information of ball placement on the field. All of this data adds up to a more enhanced experience for you, the fans. Broadcasters have more stats at their fingertips for a more robust broadcast, and fans can dig as deep as they like into the numbers to follow their favorite players, place educated sports bets and build their fantasy teams. Finally, playing a contact sport in the midst of a global pandemic certainly has its challenges. But the NFL is trying to mitigate risk of a Covid-19 outbreak by taking a high tech approach to contact tracing. The process of identifying who a sick person might have unknowingly infected. This season, players and personnel wear a small portable sensor called a proximity reporting device from Kinexon. When they're on the clock, practising, playing a game or travelling with the team. The device records information on who is near each other and for what length of time, then should someone tests positive for COVID-19, it's easy to identify who else came into contact with him and needs to isolate. In the interest of privacy location data is never recorded. The devices are given unique ID tags and not linked to the players names play back to you. That was great car. It's amazing to see how far the game is coming. Calm, and I'm excited to see how it continues to evolve. Make sure to check out our next video in the series where we'll explore tech that fans at home can use to watch the game in ways they never could before. I'm clay Matthews, and I'll see you then

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