As I have done every year since 2013, I made my way to Boston in late February/early March for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Over time, given my background, I’ve increasingly paid attention to the health/injury panels at the conference. While I am interested in all aspects of sports analytics, including player performance, drafting, and the like, I have found myself dabbling in the injury side of things as, to this point, it matches my knowledge and training.
The major injury panel this year was called “The Performance/Precaution Tradeoff: Player Health”. I was intrigued by the name of the panel as it was suggestive of some of the hot topics that dominate injury conversation today. At what point should a player be rested to prevent him/her from entering a “danger zone” of increased risk of injury? When is it better to play a back-up for an injured player? 70% health? 60% health? And how does some of the new data being collected infringe upon privacy rights?
These were just some of the things that popped in my head. Did the panel play out the way I expected or did it bring up other topics I hadn’t considered?