April 15, 2020

    Ted Leland, Athletic Director


    The Problem

    Return to play protocol has historically been a very subjective chain of events. So many injuries occur when an athlete comes back from injury too quickly, especially when returning from cruciate ligament tears. One of the most tragic things that can happen to an athlete is having an injury and returning to play too quickly, just to re-injure themselves again. Previously, the return to play protocol involved a trainer or a doctor talking to the athlete, assessing the joint visually, moving it to see how it responds, then a decision is made about when they should return back to play. The typical protocol usually revolves around time, independent of the athlete themself. The reality is, each athlete is different, each surgery is different, and the strains of each sport is different.

    The Sparta Solution

    With Sparta Science, we have a quick and easy way to assess that gives us a great deal of data about the present capabilities of an individual athlete’s movement at that exact point in time. The data is used to protect the athletes and tells us when they can safely return to play.

    If the key is working smarter, not harder, then managing recovery is everything. In-season fatigue is a challenge that all of us in college athletics have to deal with and the Sparta Scan allows our coaches to predict when athletes are starting to get fatigued both on an individual basis and as a team.

    It provides the whole athletic department an advantage because it has a universal application to all athletes. Previously, you could have 25 different sports, with 25 different weight training philosophies, which breeds uncertainty amongst the athletes and undermines the credibility of the whole program.

    Sparta gives the athletic department the benefit of uniformity around strength and conditioning programs. It also allows you to have better training for your trainers and sports medicine personnel. For an administrator, it gives you a better, objective data point to evaluate overall progress as a department.

    You only get good at what you can measure. In sports, we are evaluated by a set of rules and a final score at the end of a match – why should our training be measured differently? Sparta gives athletes and coaches a way to objectively evaluate their training based on real data.

    As an Athletic Director, the questions we need to answer are: Are we making our athletes better? Are they getting faster? Stronger? Are they ready for competition? We had no information about how effective our strength training program is until Sparta came along.

    Sparta Science is on the cutting edge of the intersection between Athletic Performance and Artificial Intelligence & Big Data.

    — Ted Leland Athletics Director, UOP, Stanford (ret.)

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