University of Toledo: Football

Athlete safety and injury prevention are vital to any sports program. The University of Toledo’s football team is leading the way with regard to student-athlete safety through their use of athlete monitoring solutions.

Spearheading this approach is Brad Bichey, the team’s Director of Football Strength and Conditioning.

“My role is to incorporate a comprehensive strength and conditioning program. This is based on a precise, periodic year-round training plan,” Bichey says. “Our goal is to safely and effectively train hard in order to build the best football athletes possible.”

The Toledo Rockets football team wants to strive towards its goal quickly and effectively, so Bichey uses Catapult wearable technology and video analysis solutions to monitor his athletes’ performances.

This user story discusses:

  • Catapult’s unmatched athlete monitoring
  • How Toledo is keeping its athletes safe and on the field
  • Specific benefits of Catapult for NCAA football programs
  • Athlete buy-in and increased athlete competition

Unmatched athlete monitoring

Bichey first heard of Catapult from fellow strength coaches at other top NCAA and professional football teams.

“I first found out about Catapult from seeing various other universities and professional teams using it,” he says. “The more I learned about how they used it and why they implemented it within their programs, the more interested I became.”

Choosing the right technology provider can be difficult, but, Bichey felt Catapult provided unmatched athlete monitoring. “We decided to implement the technology because we can get instant data and feedback. We now know exactly what our student-athletes are doing on the field,” Bichey says.

“With Catapult, we get concrete data in an instant that allows us to see exactly where the student-athletes are. This allows me and other strength staff to be more deliberate and intentional with our training and planning.”

How is Toledo keeping athletes on the field?

Following the implementation of Catapult’s wearable and video analysis solutions in 2019, Bichey quickly sensed he was best positioned to support student-athlete safety and reduce injury.

“Our main goal with using Catapult was to make our program even more comprehensive, effective, and efficient,” he says. “The technology enables us to put our athletes in the best position possible to maximize their athletic performance while reducing the likelihood of injury.

“The performance metrics that we use most regularly are PlayerLoad, acute to chronic ratio, high speed distance, max velocity, max acceleration and quarterback throws.”

–> Check out Catapult’s football-specific metrics, here.

What parts of NCAA football performance does Catapult benefit the most?

Having used Catapult’s solutions for some time, Bichey discussed in detail how he is able to keep on top of student-athlete safety and injury prevention with the technology.

“The technology has helped us out as a strength staff and a program in many different areas. These areas include monitoring performance, instant feedback from games and practice, coach’s education, reducing the likelihood of injury, improved readiness for competition, return-to-play protocol, and long-term planning in regards to practices and training sessions.”

But what area has Catapult had the most impact on?

…“The most valuable thing we use Catapult for is with our return-to-play protocol. To be able to take an injured athlete and monitor his or her return through concrete data gives us a clearer picture on where the athlete is and how to progress them.

“Ultimately we want to get the athlete back as quickly as possible, but we want to be sure that they are physiologically ready to perform at a high level in order to increase sustainability and avoid any setbacks or reoccurrence of injury.”

How have the athletes benefited from using the technology?

So before implementing Catapult, Bichey was unsure how the athletes would take to using the technology.

However, the Director of Football Strength and Conditioning says “the feedback from the athletes is awesome. They have never once complained about wearing the devices, and this is key. 

“The athletes are very interested in seeing their numbers and use it as a means of competition. Also, several athletes have come in and sat down with our staff to learn about the technology and what the metrics mean, and how we utilize the data within our program.”

Bichey explains his student-athletes have bought into using Catapult so they now understand the benefits it provides them individually and the wider team.

“These benefits definitely help with the buy-in factor because the athletes know the ‘why’ behind them wearing these devices during practices, games, and training sessions,” he says.

So how will the Toledo Rockets move forward with Catapult?

After years of using the technology, Bichey is looking to continue investing within Catapult so to learn more.

“Our staff and program look forward to learning more and diving deeper into the technology. We’re keen to continue to improve what we do with our student-athletes on a daily basis,” he says.

Interested in learning more about Catapult so you can improve student-athlete safety and help reduce injury? Get in touch, today .

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