New Research: COVID-19 Surveillance and Competition in Sport

by Fusion Sport
 | 3rd October, 2020

Led by Dr Joshua Hagen at the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute a group of Sport Science Researchers and Athletics professionals in the US have released a new paper on COVID-19 Surveillance in sport.

The paper discusses how Sport Science and technology, in particular the Smartabase Athlete Management System, have been used for illness surveillance and health monitoring of athletes and staff.

The paper was co-authored by the following, all of whom we are proud to say we have supported during COVID-19 with customized health monitoring solutions in Smartabase.

•Dr Joshua Hagen, Jason D. Stone and Scott Galster from the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, West Virginia University
•Michael Joseph of West Virginia University Athletics
•W. Guy Hornsby of West Virginia University Sport Science Department
•Mark Stephenson from the Detroit Lions (NFL), and;
•Robert Mangine at the University of Cincinnati

The paper provides some in depth discussions on how the above organizations have utilized wearable technologies, monitoring devices and the Smartabase Athlete App and AMS to collect and monitor data on health, wellness and fitness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As stated in the abstract, after COVID-19 abruptly halted competition and training in March, many organisations in particular Sports teams and Colleges were faced with “confusion surrounding when and how to safely reintroduce sports.”

In response to this challenge the paper offers “strategies for utilizing technology and data tools as components of longitudinal COVID-19 surveillance… while also serving the performance needs of the athletes and staff.”

The guidelines provided in the paper have been “based on ongoing research efforts as well as current guidance from governing bodies” for which the authors recommend the following as key components of a comprehensive solution:

•Digital symptom and well-being surveys
•Standardized and routine physical performance testing
Sleep and sleep physiology monitoring
Cognitive applications
Temperature tracking

The Technology and Data Strategy presented in the Research Paper

In terms of the technologies being utilized, the authors describe their solution as being “flexible to numerous commercially available products” and is “designed for easy implementation that permits instant feedback provided directly to the athlete as well as their support staff for early intervention, ultimately mitigating COVID-19 risks.”

In particular, the technology utilized to bring all your symptom tracking and athlete monitoring information together could be a low cost solution requiring manual data aggregation like excel, or investing in a “commercial AMS which is designed specifically to aggregate data automatically using smartphone applications, direct entry, and automated data imports using applied programming interfaces (APIs).”

“The advantage to using an AMS is in the ease of workflow for both the athletes and practitioners, where, for example, the athletes fill out a morning symptom (e.g., CDC symptom lists for COVID-19) questionnaire, and if any symptoms are reported, a practitioner could be instantly alerted via text message and/or email as soon as that data is entered.

These triggers can be fully customized based on staff needs and philosophies. Examples of several commercial AMSs include Fusion Sport Smartabase (Fusion Sport, Colorado, United States and Brisbane, Australia; utilized and noted in figures below).”

COVID-19 Surveillance & Symptom Tracking Dashboard built in Smartabase

An example of a COVID-19 Symptom Questionnaire in the Smartabase Athlete App

Overall the paper provides a truly comprehensive guide to all those looking to get back to training and competition while prioritizing the health and safety of their staff and athletes.

We encourage all to download the free paper here and reach out to the authors or to Fusion Sport directly if you have questions on the solution discussed.

In particular if you would like more information on the implementation of an AMS to support COVID-19 monitoring protocols contact our staff for a demonstration of our solution and guidance on best practice illness surveillance.