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Sports Business

Pacers sign deal with Israeli tech firm to target player injuries

December 14, 2016
KEYWORDS Sports Business

The Indiana Pacers have recruited an Israeli tech firm to help the team cut down on player injuries.

PhysiMax Technologies offers a system that gives team trainers, doctors and coaches data and analysis on how likely certain actions or movements are to cause an injury.

For example, PhysiMax’s system could give the team a good sense of how likely Paul George’s explosive moves to the basket and Myles Turner’s shot-blocking feats are to cause injury. It also can help trainers understand what parts of a player’s body need strengthening to endure the rigors of the season.

“We are bringing the latest scientifically proven technology for athletic development and injury prevention onto our court,” Shawn Windle, the team's director of sports performance, said in a statement. “Our medical team and strength and conditioning staff unanimously chose PhysiMax as our go-to solution. It quickly and easily measures dynamic movement patterns in real-time, objectively scoring players according to the latest evidence-based protocols.”

Terms of the Pacers’ deal with PhysiMax, which was announced Tuesday, were not disclosed.

The deal could pay big dividends in the "win" column for the Pacers, who are 13-12 and seventh in the Eastern Conference headed into Wednesday night's road game with the Miami Heat. Several key players already have missed games this season due to injuries, including George, Turner, Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Miles and Monta Ellis.

Ram Shalev and David Kahani founded PhysiMax Technologies in 2013. Shalev has an engineering and robotics background. Kahani’s background is in video. 

The company graduated from Microsoft’s Accelerator program for start-up firms in 2014 and a similar program at Georgia Institute of Technology.

While the Pacers are one of the first NBA teams to use PhysiMax’s system, it has been used by several Israeli professional basketball teams as well as the University of North Carolina, University of Connecticut and the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

“We are both sport fans. David is a statistics freak and I used to be a swimmer; today I run and ride,” Shalev told Globes, an Israeli business publication. “In conversations we had with doctors and athletes, we noticed that there was a shortage of data analysis … that the quality of movement had not been quantified. Each therapist does what they can, but the gaps lead to injuries.”

PhysiMax’s system provides real-time assessments using 3-D cameras to measure the effectiveness—or injury potential—of a player’s playing style and training regimen. 

“We read the data, upload it to the cloud where our algorithm analyzes the kinematics, and we can almost instantly analyze a person’s every movement,” Shalev told Globes.

The video is uploaded to PhysiMax’s servers, where the cloud-based analysis system follows body movement to define things like lack of balance, symmetry of motion, muscle weakness and limitations in range of motion. The system allows trainers and coaches to analyze jumping movements and landing patterns, pelvic and trunk stabilization, dynamic balance and more, PhysiMax officials said. 

PhysiMax’s system, Shavel said, is designed to help training staffs develop personalized training and rehabilitative therapy programs for each player.

To this point, PhysiMax’s target market has primarily been professional and collegiate athletic programs, but Shalev sees a day coming when his firm’s system will be available to the masses. 

“As devices become more powerful and begin sporting advanced 3-D high-definition cameras, this technology is going to become available for anyone,” Shalev told the Times of Israel.

Below is a promotional video with a brief illustration of the system in action:

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