Dordt Athletics Utilizes Sparta Science Technology
- Posted Thursday, January 14, 2021
(Thursday, January 14; Sioux Center, Iowa) Dordt student-athletes had a new step in their integration into the Dordt Athletic Department in 2020-21 with the school’s use of the Sparta Science System.
“After many years of assessing and rehabilitating athletes I saw a lot of things,” says Dordt University Head Athletic Trainer Chris Fagnerness. “I saw what an injury does to someone not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. This inspired me to take a more active approach in trying to identify ways to help prevent or reduce the risk of injuries.”
The Sparta Science System utilizes force plate machine learning that takes measurements of the individual’s movements and is used to predict injury risk and fitness status. After the assessment, the system assigns individual training or rehab plans proven to prevent injuries. According to Sparta, Dordt University is the only NAIA members extensively using its’ technology.
“I find it helpful to see and try to understand what is going on at the top levels of sport,” states Fagnerness. “I also believe strength and conditioning has a profound effect on overall individual health. The Professional Football Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association website mentioned Sparta Science and how Sparta was assessing athletes at the NFL Combine using a force plate. This was what I was looking for--a way to predict injury risk and performance inefficiencies using an objective measurement of movements the athletes were accustomed to. What I liked even more was Sparta had been collecting data for years and has been studying interventions. Using Sparta allows us to understand data right away and to confidently make changes to help the betterment of individuals,” said Fagerness.
Fagerness sees positive impacts from the program after a semester of use.
“I have learned it will be a useful tool for us. We are able to use it to monitor the progress of injured athletes. We use it as a tool in assessing recruits. We use it to create individualized training plans for our athletes and we can assess the impact of our intervention when working with injury,” says Fagerness.
Student athletes are assessed when they arrive for pre-season workouts. The assessment takes seven minutes and the force plate used for readings and assessments does not require a great deal of space.
“We identify movement inefficiencies and make simple changes that have been researched to make modifications in training programs to improve performance and also reduce injury,” says Fagerness. “This process will maximize our students’ time by focusing on the strength and conditioning needed to help their success. In a sense, each individual will have a program tailored to their specific needs.”
Sparta Science is utilized by individual teams in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, several NCAA Division institutions and branches of the United States Military.