May 26, 2015Cardinals Go Hi-Tech to Fight Fatigue-Driven Injuries
With more than 40 years in the business, Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians is considered old school. But, as detailed in an article on azcardinals.com, he isn’t shy about using technology to help keep his players healthy.
In light of NFL rules that have done away with two-a-day practices, Arians is concerned about the workload his players face during their single three-hour offseason practices. So with the help of Strength Coach Buddy Morris, the team is using devices to track the ground covered by wide receivers and defensive backs during these sessions as a way to monitor their exertion. To avoid over-training and soft-tissue injuries, muscle pulls that Arians attributes to fatigue, once the monitored players reach a certain exertion level, their repetitions are reduced. Some players wore the devices last season, but they weren’t used to change the workload.
“Last year, I thought we overworked them,” Arians told azcardinals.com. “There are times when we got into OTAs (organized team activities) seven and eight, and there was some fatigue factor. We don’t want any soft-tissue injuries because of fatigue.”
Fatigue can be a big issue for the Cardinals because they often conduct simultaneous 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 drills so that both backups and starters get enough work.
“You didn’t really feel that way at the moment (during OTAs),” cornerback Jerraud Powers said. “It was kind of like when it was all over, you’re like, ‘God, we did a lot.’ It’s tough. Not everyone around the league does what we do, in terms of two practices and everybody getting reps. Last year, when (strength and conditioning coach) Buddy (Morris) got here, he started monitoring steps. I think after the statistics came in after we were done, it kind of opened some eyes.”
At least one player is impressed that Arians is willing to adopt new technology.
“Coach Arians has been coaching for 40 years,” star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “This technology is about five years old and is really only in the grass roots stage. This sports science, all of this technology at our disposal wasn’t available for him most of his career. I think it says a lot about him that he would embrace this. It shows he wants his players fresh and ready for the long haul.”