By Josh Dubow
MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — The epiphany hit Phil Wagner about a decade ago when he was stuck in Southern California traffic pouring over reams of data in his car and he realized how he could take information about how athletes jump and land and predict where they are most susceptible to their next injury.
Wagner has turned that idea into a leading company in the growing field of sports science analytics as teams seek whatever edge they can to keep their players on the field instead of in the operating room.
Sparta Science tracks athletes making six jumps in 90 seconds with its force plate technology and proprietary software to predict what injuries they’re in danger of suffering, what workouts they need to stay healthy and what sport or position best suits their athletic ability.
“People ask how can you tell this from a 90-second jump,” Wagner said. “But it’s more like an iceberg. You see the top, which is the jump. But under the water is reams and reams of data points of the individual’s history, ethnicity and demographics and that tells a whole story.”