When the University of Wisconsin's football team faces off against Oklahoma State at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix Dec. 27, a group of researchers will be following numbers that aren't related to the final score.
The Badgers are part of a study involving the NFL and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health to use sensors embedded in mouth guards worn by the team to assess on-field injuries.
The high-tech mouthguard sensors "measure kinematic details such as impact speed, direction, force, location and severity of head impacts," the medical school said in a news release. "Insights gleaned from the data … will help inform the NFL's approach to injury reduction and decrease head impacts overall."
UW will also be able to use the data to keep its players safer.
NFL officials noted that UW and three other colleges involved in the study — the University of Alabama, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Washington — are "direct pipelines" to professional football, which means players can be tracked over a longer period of time.