How Wearable Technology Got Quietly Into Major League Baseball – Forbes
Of all the major sports, baseball has been the one most closely tied to player performance data. Whether that has been PitchFx, Statcast, or other advanced metrics that are now fully adopted in the game, when it comes to statistics, baseball rules them all.
So, it may come as no surprise that the use of wearable technology has quietly worked its way into Major League Baseball. The league and players reached an agreement on them in 2016, and as part of the labor deal reached on Dec 1, that will continue.
Wearable technology has been a topic between MLB and the MLBPA in recent years. The reasoning centers on the mutual goals of both owners and players: health and performance.
As part of the process of getting wearable technology implemented in Major League Baseball, the Official Baseball Rules require that any new technology be approved prior to use on the field. The league receives suggestions on products for use from clubs in the league, the players, and vendors. Before any wearable is negotiated for use, products go through an extensive testing and evaluation process prior to approval.
The approved wearable technologies for the 2016 season were the Motus Baseball Sleeve which can assist in data around elbow stress in pitchers, and the Zephyr Bioharness, which monitors heart rates and breathing, which then provides data on fatigue.
Based on the agreement between the league and players, data derived from any of the wearable technology products can be taken after a game but not during it. Players can access the information on themselves. There is no mandatory rule in place that says states players must wear them. All use of wearable technology is voluntary.
As of publication, the data to show how many players have engaged in using wearable technology in MLB was not available. Some players may seek out using the technology while others may be opposed to it. It’s unclear how it is being adopted.
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