Innovative course on Sports Science and Athlete Monitoring debuts in Summer Term

A star athlete is sidelined with an injury. How does the coach know the best time to get her back on the practice field? Gut instinct?

Not anymore. In the era of big data, athlete monitoring technology provides increasingly essential answers about physical fitness. That’s why kinesiology professor Dave Bell launched Sports Science and Athlete Monitoring at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this summer—the only course of its kind in the United States. Bell knows that undergraduates interested in athletic training for team sports need to understand this up-and-coming tech.

“When it comes to technology and sport in general, it’s a really interesting time to be in this field,” Bell told the Cap Times.

The Badger football team makes extensive use of athlete monitoring devices. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)

In its three-week Summer Term slot, Sports Science and Athlete Monitoring will explore sophisticated athlete monitoring tools, including wellness software that measures mood, sleep, and diet. Bell will also get students out of the classroom to test-drive the technology themselves in a training facility.

Professor Dave Bell
Prof. Dave Bell teaches the only course of its kind in the United States.

Returning to play

Bell is particularly interested in the technology’s potential for rehabilitation. In other words, for getting that star athlete back on the field.

“We know a lot more about the injury-prevention side of things,” Bell told the Cap Times. “There’s less out there on returning to play.”

The Department of Kinesiology in the UW-Madison School of Education offers bachelor of science degrees in athletic training, kinesiology, and physical education teacher education.