Predicting Sport Injuries and Player Performance Using Neural Networks

Mike Murphy is a consultant with M P Murphy & Associates Pty Ltd that focuses on Information Technology and Risk Management with clients including the government, banking & finance, insurance companies and most recently major football and soccer sporting clubs in Australia and United Kingdom. Mr. Murphy has a B.S. in Computer Science & Mathematics from the University of New South Wales and Masters degree in Management Science.

Mr. Murphy has been using NeuroSolutions (Consultants) along with the Custom Solution Wizard and OptiGen Library (formally Genetic Server) for over 4-years. He also attended our Neural Network Course in Orlando, FL in the spring of 2007. In using these products, Mr. Murphy has integrated NeuroSolutions neural networks into several areas of professional sports including forecasting risk of injury, player performance and classifying match strategies. He uses approximately 20 to 30 different breadboards (including a mixture of classification and function approximation networks) such as: Multilayer Perceptron (MLP), Radial Basis Function (RBF), Modular Networks and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) networks for pre-processing. The OptiGen Library provides a "What if analysis" on the results on how to modify the training schedule of individual players to reduce the risk of injury.

For predicting risk of injury the network occupies approximately 25 inputs including training loads over a 3-week period, wellness (i.e. fatigue, sleep quality & stress), pain & comfort ratings (i.e. foot, ankle, calf, groin, etc.) and player conditioning. The network consists of the previous 3 season’s worth of data which accounts for anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 records and the networks are retrained at the end of each season. The results have been exceptional, and have included:

  • Ability to predict soft tissue injuries and player performance during the early in-season games, based on pre-season training programs.
  • Ability to predict soft tissue injuries and player performance on a week-by-week basis during the in-season.
  • Provide the medical and conditioning staff with a tool to search for optimal activity levels to achieve specified outcomes in player performance and injury risk.
  • Assess new player and draft candidates and recommend selections based on required player or team composition.

One of the major sporting clubs recently reported that since the implementation of the neural network model there has been a 57% reduction in player injuries! In one of the most recent seasons the club was also rated #1 in the AFL for the most players to have played every game, least games missed through injury, most players to play 20+ games and least missed games by top 11 players in each team.
When asked how Mr. Murphy chose NeuroSolutions over other competitive products he said that he "didn’t find anything that was as comprehensive as NeuroSolutions" and found that "NeuroSolutions offered a broad range of features that were easy to use". When asked about what he liked best about NeuroSolutions, he said it is a "Good solid product" and it "does exactly what I expect it to do."

We would like the thank Mr. Murphy for sharing his great success story with us and we hope to continue to see great things from him in the near future!

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