NFL Partners With Amazon Web Services to Strive Towards Better Player Health, Safety
Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the National Football League (NFL) are in a new partnership with the goal of advancing player health and safety using AWS’s portfolio of services and expertise. Building on the existing Next Gen Stats (NGS) partnership and as the NFL marks its 100th season, AWS and NFL will together shape the future of football.
The partnership aims to leverage AWS’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) services to provide a deeper and more profound understanding of the game than ever before, making transformational change possible in football, other sports, and potentially other industries. The NFL and AWS will develop new tools and generate deeper and better-informed insights into player injuries, specifically the impact of a variety of factors such as game rules, equipment, and rehabilitation and recovery strategies. Over time, the collaboration aims to also build the capability to predict the risk of player injuries before they happen.
“The NFL is committed to reimagining the future of football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “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.”
This expanded relationship between the NFL and AWS, the world’s leading cloud, addresses one of the league’s most important priorities – working to develop the technologies and solutions to improve player health and safety. With AWS, the league will be able to securely speed the gathering and application of data-based insights using scalable computer simulation and modeling. AWS and NFL will use AWS’s analytics and ML services, including the Amazon ML Solutions Lab (AWS’s Machine Learning Professional Services program) and Amazon SageMaker, which enables data scientists and developers to quickly and easily build, train, and deploy ML models, to develop the capabilities that may be able to help predict and prevent injury to athletes.
“By leveraging the breadth and depth of AWS services, the NFL is growing its leadership position in driving innovation and improvements in health and player safety, which is good news not only for NFL players, but also for athletes everywhere,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS. “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.”
Among the new tools and technologies AWS and the NFL will co-develop is the “Digital Athlete” platform, a computer simulation model of an NFL player that will be able to be used to model infinite scenarios within the game environment without any risk to the athletes. The Digital Athlete will apply AWS’s AI, ML, and computer vision technologies, including Amazon Rekognition, to the NFL’s data sets from numerous sources – including historical and current video feeds, player position, play type, equipment choice, playing surface, environmental factors, and aggregated and anonymized player injury information – in an effort to better treat and rehabilitate injuries in the near-term, and also eventually predict and intervene to prevent injury.
AWS and the NFL will also collaborate to develop computer vision models using Amazon SageMaker, Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth, and Amazon Rekognition to advance the ability to detect concussions and identify the forces that cause them. Any techniques developed to detect and prevent concussion may also be capable of being extended to reduce a wide range of injuries. Any reductions, especially in concussions and lower extremity injuries, could have a potentially profound effect on player safety.
Since 2017, the NFL has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. The NGS platform leverages the breadth and depth of AWS’s services, including compute, storage, database, analytics, and ML services to visualize the action on the field, uncover deeper insights, and expand the fan experience by offering a broader range of advanced statistics. AWS and the NFL have collaborated to deliver innovative advanced stats, such as Completion Probability and Expected Yards After Catch, which have quickly become fan favorites.