The New York Giants have begun tracking their players with GPS technology. We’re used to hearing about police tracking suspects with a GPS device, but that’s only one of the many, ever-growing uses for the technology. Although the Giants are the first American football team to implement GPS tracking, the technology has been used around the globe to monitor athletes during training. These devices allow coaches, trainers, and sports doctors to know precisely how far and how fast an athlete is moving. With this information, the team can adjust each player’s training to enhance performance and prevent injury.
A recent study estimates that up to 80 percent of athletic injuries are preventable. Most of these injuries are caused by fatigue, meaning that an athlete over-works his or her body. By tracking a player with a GPS device, coaches and trainers can see when a player needs rest. It can be devastating to a team’s win:loss ratio if even one player is benched due to injury.
“I’m looking into the future,” said Ronnie Barnes, the Giants’ vice president of medical services, in an interview with The Times. “We’ve known we need to do this, and I feel like we’ve begun to pioneer a little bit with our players and within the league.” The Giants aren’t new to implementing technology into their training. Last year, the team began using heart-rate monitors to see how different players were affected by different drills.
Australian football (or soccer as it’s called in the US) teams have been monitoring players with promising results, but it’s relatively unused in the US for athletes. However, the tides may soon be changing. Other teams will likely adopt monitoring their athletes with a GPS device in order to prevent the Giants players from maintaining an edge, assuming the tracking technology is able to prevent injuries and improve performance.