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New Orleans Saints Are Using Big Data To Help Avoid Injuries

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New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton told an audience at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston about how he is using new RFID technology to get better data about players and avoid injuries.

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton spoke on a panel last Friday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, about how coaches are using new technology to get better data about players.

For the first time during the 2014 season, every NFL player in the league was outfitted with digital tracking devices in their shoulder pads to record exactly how far and how fast they were moving in each practice.

Payton told the group at MIT that RFID trackers created by Zebra Technologies produce a huge amount of data, and he is still figuring out how to use all of it. For now, he said, he is looking for ways to minimize injuries to players.

"It has an immediate impact on players," Payton said. "This guy is doing more in practice than the others, let's make sure we're not dealing with a hamstring injury in a few days."

"With one year now of practice data, it will shape how we practice in May, and more important in training camp and in season. We can point to work load and how it relates to injuries. It will shape our calendar."

Payton said coaches will be able to use the data from last year to adjust practices in 2015.

Tech and Innovation Reporting on WWNO is supported by Bellwether Technologies.

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