The NFL is teaming up with Amazon to create the “Digital Athlete”

The National Football League (NFL) has formed an ambitious partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The two institutions have teamed up in a bid to revolutionize the health and safety of football players.
NFL Jump
The NFL hopes to create a “Digital Athlete” with its new collaboration with Amazon. Photo: NFL

The pair will action this overhaul through the use of machine learning, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. The program hopes to use AWS’s expertise in these technologies to provide a greater understanding of the impact of the sport. Moreover, it also seeks to transform other sports and wider markets.

According to a press release, the duo will create advanced tools to generate deeper insights into injuries. They will take a holistic approach to a wide range of aspects involving the game. Rules, equipment, rehabilitation programs, and recovery strategies will all be analyzed in a bid to improve player health and safety.

An important goal

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is looking forward to collaborating with Amazon. He feels that the alliance is something that all stakeholders can benefit from.

“The NFL is committed to reimagining the future of football,” Goodell said, as per the release.

“When we apply next-generation technology to advance player health and safety, everyone wins – from players to clubs to fans.

“The outcomes of our collaboration with AWS – and what we will learn about the human body and how injuries happen – could reach far beyond football. As we look ahead to our next 100 seasons, we’re proud to partner with AWS in that endeavor.”

Amazon HQ
Those in Amazon’s office in Seattle have been focusing more on its web services in recent times. Photo: Amazon

Leading in innovation

AWS CEO Andy Jassy echoed his partner’s thoughts on the move. He went on to say that by leveraging the depth of his company’s services, the NFL puts itself in a position of driving innovation.

“This partnership represents an opportunity for the NFL and AWS to develop new approaches and advanced tools to prevent injury, both in and potentially beyond football,” he said.

This news follows a period of NFL being under fire for the number of concussions that its players suffer. According to Vox, there are over 200 concussions within the league a year. 2017 alone saw 281 concussions across the NFL preseason and regular season.

67.7 percent of these head injuries come from impact from another player’s helmet. Meanwhile 20.9 percent comes from impact from other regions such as a foot or knee.

NFL Super Bowl
By the time the next Super Bowl comes around, we could see some of the partnership’s systems in place. Photo: NFL

Useful technology

The two companies hope to create a “Digital Athlete”, which will apply tools such as Amazon’s Rekognition to the NFL’s data sets. Several sources will be looked at, including video feeds, positions, surfaces, and environmental factors.

The NFL will be eager to see the results of this project. The league is no stranger to partnering with high tech companies to improve the game. Previously, it experimented with Google on wearable tech such as its Glass product to help with player training and development.

It would be great to see other sports taking the initiative to explore AI and cloud technologies to improve certain aspects. This is something that we hope games such as soccer take on to improve officiating. However, the application of these services to health and safety in these organizations could also go a long way in injury prevention and rehabilitation.

What do you think about this partnership with the NFL and Amazon Web Services? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.



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