Sports & Entertainment, 11/20/18: Predicting & Preventing Injuries


On today’s episode of the MarketScale Sports & Entertainment Podcast, we’re gong to focus on predicting and preventing potential injuries. As organizations have gotten smarter about building winning teams, we’ve seen injuries remain as one of the biggest and most frustrating challenges. The two individuals we talked to for our feature pieces this week, Dr. Phil Wagner and Matt Schmit, are focused on helping teams and athletes more accurately predict and prevent future injuries.

Analytics Insights with Thomas Riley

It used to be the case that the jocks in the sports world and the mathletes existed in completely separate worlds, but that’s not the case anymore. Thomas Riley, Director of Analytics at MarketScale, joined the show to talk about how those worlds have collided in recent years.

Analytics in sports is truly a combination of two of TC’s favorite things. He gave us some insight into the challenges facing teams as they collect data and where he sees the industry moving in the future.

Investing In Data

Sports are constantly evolving as teams find new ways to tackle the challenges in front of them. New statistics and data analytics teams have helped organizations more accurately understand how to build a winning team. But one of the issues that has consistently plagued teams is injuries.

Training staffs and sports medical professionals have grown leaps and bounds in diagnosing injuries and getting players back in action. But what if there was a way to more accurately predict potential injuries using reliably collected data? Dr. Phil Wagner, CEO and Founder of Sparta Science, is working to make this dream a reality.

Sparta Science has developed a series of tests using force plates that they say “can identify potential risk of injury as well as strengths and weaknesses.” Used by organizations like the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA and the Colorado Rockies in Major League Baseball, the Sparta Scan is revolutionizing the way teams test their players and predict potential injury issues down the road.

Protecting the Future of Sports

Concussions are one of the biggest and most controversial issues facing the future of sports. High school football participation is down 6.5% from its peak in 2009/2010 due, at least in part, to concerns over concussions. Leagues have instituted strict protocols for how to handle the injury once a player suffers one and changed the laws of the game to more stringently enforce rules that protect players from hits to the head.

For Matt Schmit, CEO of Iron Neck, he’s hoping to prevent concussions before they ever happen by strengthening the muscles around the head and neck. “If you’re able to slow head acceleration upon impact…you’re able to reduce the acceleration and the force of the impact,” says Schmit. “We want people to know there is a proactive solution.”

Schmit draws on the discipline and structure that he was taught during his 10 years in the Air Force in his role as CEO. “My experience in the military, with the discipline and the structure, having everything projected out and having a plan of attack was important,” he says.

While awareness of the concussion issue has risen in recent years, Schmit says education is still the biggest issue facing sports. “It’s hard to get education out to this vast group of stakeholders; that’s the athletes themselves, that’s parents, that’s the sports coach, the strength coach, the athletic trainer, the athletic director, and booster clubs.”


  1. Moneyball  the book widely credited with popularizing the analytics movement in baseball.
  2. NFL Playoffs Are Not A Road To Riches For Teams
  3. Alex Smith’s and Joe Theismann’s injuries share two really eerie coincidences

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