FieldTurf SmartTeam project aims to unlock secrets behind athlete performance, safety

FieldTurf and a consortium of renowned education institutions and technology partners launched the SmartTeam Project to analyze millions of data points captured through athlete monitoring and advanced biometrics. 

Athletes are faster, bigger, and stronger than those of generations past. That evolution and perpetual demand for progress have extended beyond the athlete to encompass everything from the equipment they use to notable advancements in nutrition, training, equipment, coaching, surfaces, analytics monitoring and more. 

The question that the FieldTurf SmartTeam seeks to answer is, “What’s the perfect combination for ultimate performance and safety?” 

The goal of the project is to connect the athlete and the surface with leading technology to gain a deeper understanding of performance and safety to achieve breakthroughs that change the game. 

“Pushing the boundaries of innovation in athlete safety has always been in our DNA, and the SmartTeam Project continues our transformation journey,” said Jason Smollett, director of innovation and product management, FieldTurf. “SmartTeam is our bold commitment to accelerate our development and continue to be the trusted resource and industry leader.” 

The FieldTurf Innovation and Performance Center (FIPC) has sourced the latest and most advanced technology in athlete monitoring, analytics and sports surfacing to connect its partner school, Milton High School, in Georgia. 

Over the next three years, with the help of advanced biometrics and real-time analytics, the SmartTeam Project will collect millions of data points obtained through athlete monitoring wearables, video analytics and surface testing. The project’s mission is to translate the findings into tangible learnings that could result in meaningful change for athletes. 

The technology will record in-depth athlete biometrics (heart rate, speed, distance, player load), head impacts in real-time and monitor recovery, strain and sleep. The SmartTeam Project will leverage an advanced video analysis tool and connect to smart field technology to monitor field activity and maintenance. This technology will enable the recording of live events and overlay them with precise field surface conditions obtained through a battery of industry testing. 

The project will be led by Program Manager Thayne A. Munce, Ph.D., FACSM – assistant scientist and manager in the Environmental Influences on Health and Disease Group and director of the Athletic Health and Performance Lab at Sanford Research (Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.). Munce is also an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and has a Graduate Faculty appointment in the Division of Kinesiology and Sport Management at the University of South Dakota. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and serves on several sports medicine leadership boards, including the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for the South Dakota High School Activities Association, the Leadership Board of the National Youth Sports Health and Safety Institute (NYSHSI), and the Medical Advisory Panel for USA Football.