Giants using technology to monitor players during practice


At a time when even the Cincinnati Bengals are investing in iPads for the entire team, the use of technology has officially become pervasive.

But the Giants took a cue from a visiting soccer club last summer, and is pushing for more monitoring of players during workouts.

The New York Times reports the Giants are using GPS devices, heart rate monitors and other means to determine how players are working and recovering from work this offseason.

Giants GM Jerry Reese was intrigued when he saw players from English soccer power Manchester United wearing GPS devices during their training at Giants facilities last summer. So after huddling with Giants vice president for medical service Ronnie Barnes, they decided to push forward into territory that’s common in other sports, but not football.

“Football is really the last bastion of sports, where you don’t really look at that,” Barnes said. “Yet we train them like heck, and we don’t really know whether they’ve recovered or not.”

More important than the performance evaluation, however, is player safety. One of the Giants’ partners in the study is the Korey Stringer Institute, and avoiding a repeat of its namesake’s death in 2001 from complications related to heat stroke should be foremost on every team’s mind.

“They didn’t have these tests before, and they didn’t know where it came from until they did an autopsy,” Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “You don’t want it to have to be like that.”

This is an area where it’s going to be hard to keep up with the technology, but the Giants should be saluted for being at the front of the line. Even if the player safety function wasn’t enough (it is), there are practical applications teams can benefit from, provided coaches open their minds and owners open their wallets.