A NFL Network injury prevention special.

There’s a lot of discussion about ways to reduce NFL injuries, and it’s interesting to see the NFL Network spotlighting some of that. The network will premiere a special 30-minute episode of NFL Media’s NFL Explained series Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, with this one focused on innovation in player health and safety. Here’s more from a release:

The show begins with a spotlight on helmet innovation and a deep dive into the labs of the entrepreneurs and manufacturers developing next-generation, cutting-edge helmets destined for NFL fields in coming seasons. Next, NFL Explained: Innovation in Player Health & Safety explores lower extremity injury reduction and provides a behind-the-scenes look at a new turf testing machine, the BEAST. Finally, the show concludes with an examination of a new injury prediction and prevention program the NFL is building with Amazon Web Services (AWS) called the Digital Athlete, which is utilizing AI and machine learning to simulate infinite in-game scenarios and provide insights into new ways to improve player health and safety.

…Key NFL leaders, and engineering and technology partners driving this work are featured throughout the show, including:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Miller
NFL Senior Vice President, Health & Safety Innovation Jennifer Langton
NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills
Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky
Chair of the NFL’s Engineering Committee Dr. Jeff Crandall
Atlanta Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay
New York Giants Assistant Equipment Manager Tim Slaman
Biocore Principal Data Scientist Dr. Sam Huddleston
Biocore Senior Research Engineer Dr. Philipe Aldahir
Biocore Senior Researcher Dr. Meade Spratley
NFL Helmet Challenge awardee company representatives:
Xenith Chief Engineer Ron Jadischke
Kollide Project Coordinator Franck Le Naveaux
Impressio President & CTO Christopher Yakacki
Impressio Principal Engineer Lillian Chatham

A trailer can be seen here. The special will also be available for streaming beginning Thursday on on YouTube and NFL.com/PlayerHealthAndSafety.

There’s certainly plenty of interest out there in the research going into making safer helmets and modeling injuries, and some of this (maybe the Digital Athlete modeling in particular) hasn’t been widely discussed yet. So there may be some significant information that comes out of this. And it’s worthwhile to see this discussing research not just into helmets, but also into lower extremity injuries and into turf testing.

It’s also notable to see this as a further example of the growing partnership between the NFL and Amazon; they’ve already been working together on a few fronts, including broadcasting (Thursday Night Football simulcasts, and exclusive broadcasts beginning this year) and NextGenStats, and it’s interesting to see this detailed partnership for this Digital Athlete initative. The special, and its featuring of AWS CEO Adam Selipsky, may provide some further information on just how the NFL and Amazon are teaming up. We’ll see how this works out, but it’s definitely a notable thing for NFLN to broadcast.


About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.