Real-Time Temps

August 23, 2018

Earlier this month, the University of Virginia started using ingestible thermometers to monitor player temperatures in real time.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the thermometers, which are tablets the size of vitamins, have a digestible sensor with a Bluetooth connection that sends data to athletic trainers' computers. Players can be tracked by entering their jersey numbers into the system, thus enabling athletic trainers to monitor athletes with temperatures close to 104 degrees.

“It’s really helping us keep them safe,” Kelli Pugh, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine, said. “Before, we had to wait until they felt bad to tell us they felt bad.”

Pugh said that while the technology is not new, coaches have gradually become more receptive to athletic trainers' suggestions as the dangers of heat stroke have become more widely known.

“They’re certainly more willing to listen when an athletic trainer expresses a concern,” Pugh said. “Nobody wants a student-athlete to be in danger.”

Carla Williams, Virginia's Athletic Director, said safety should be coaches' top priority.

“Based on what I’ve seen, I think that for our coaches, at least in my mind, the student-athletes are our priority. It’s important to me that we treat our student-athletes as if they were our own children,” Williams said. “Because it’s important that the student-athletes have every opportunity to have a good experience. Of course we want to compete for championships, but we want to make sure we strike the right balance and take care of the student-athletes first.”

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