Can Technology Make Sports Safer?

We’re a nation of sports nuts. We rally around our favorite teams, deify athletes, and sustain a multi-billion-dollar industry built to celebrate athleticism and human endurance. As a result, the stakes are high for athletes to consistently outperform each other and their own prior outings, often at their own expense. Despite how effortless athletes make their performances look on the field, their bodies are constantly under duress, constantly on the verge of the next injury, often maximizing short-term glory at the expense of longer-term health and well-being.

Technologies ranging from high-tech helmets, mobile virtual players, training robots, and biometric data services are being deployed with an eye towards sidelining most sports injuries. On Thursday, March 23, Future Tense met to consider the effectiveness of these efforts to make sports safer, and our relationship as fans to the bravado sports culture that can at times romanticize injuries and view them as an integral part of the game.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University

Panel One: Can Technology Make Sports Safer? featuring Nicholas Schmidle. Staff writer, The New Yorker, Author, "Can Technology Make Football Safer?"

Panel Two: The New MVPs: Robots, VR & Wearables to the Rescue featuring Ellen Arruda, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering, University of Michigan; Derek Belch, Co-founder and CEO, STRIVR Labs; Roderick Moore Jr., Vice President of Sports Performance, Catapult Sports; and, Buddy Teevens, Head Coach, Dartmouth Football. Moderated by Nicholas Schmidle, Staff writer, The New Yorker, Author, "Can Technology Make Football Safer?"

Panel Three: But Won't Injuries Always Be a Part of the Game? featuring George Atallah, Assistant Executive Director for External Affairs, NFL Player's Association; Victoria Jackson, Sports historian, Arizona State University; Jeff Miller, Executive Vice President of Player Health and Safety, National Football League; and, Kenneth Shropshire, Director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative, University of Pennsylvania. Moderated by Josh Levin, Executive Editor, Slate.

Event highlight video.

March 23, 2017
Run time
New America
Presented by:
Future Tense