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The Next Moneyball, Part Four: The Art Of Winning With Aging And Injured Athletes

In Michael Lewis’s book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, Lewis

describes the Oakland Athletics’ 2003 amazing playoff run in which evidence-based

statistics called Sabermetrics (B. James, C. Wright) were used to aid decisions made in drafting prospects and signing free agent players. The team's general manager, Billy Beane, was highly criticized for his use of this method, but his belief paid off. Twelve years later, this strategy has transcended almost every major professional sport, enabling unpredictable and lesser-known athletes the opportunity to perform at a championship level TOGETHER. Although an invaluable tool that helps optimize the grouping of players who in turn can increase opportunities to score against particular pitchers, teams, fields, and so forth in ways that have been illustrated by win percentages, Sabermetrics does not account for variables of the human body. For instance, past injuries and the ability to physically adapt new movements in response to those injuries can and must be factored into mapping out an athlete’s longevity and career. This foresight is invaluable to determine both the players worth as well as how integral his presence will be in a team environment the worth of the individual player in a dollar to metric see as well as the dynamic of the team as a cohesive defense. As you can see, there are many variables on the individual level that can contribute to a team’s success that are not addressed in classic Sabermetrics.

baseball athletes and calculating their future

A new formula that applies this human element must be inculcated to look at injury risk and the potential of a player to make a return on investment despite past injuries. This is my goal – to introduce and implement a total risk measurement analysis that in turn dictates the Return on Investment (ROI) of athletic ability and sustainability.

In Part 1-3, we explored:

  1. A system that can be implemented for multiple purposes in athletics such as predictability of how an athlete will recover from an injury and risks that may set an athlete up for an injury. And the possibilities of creating a “Moneyball” type system.

  2. What Neuroimpedance is when injury occurs.

  3. Introducing the two categories of the Kinematic Sports Analysis System (KSAS): Predictive and Athletic Functional Capacity (AFC).

  4. How athletes and people like us make movement choices based on our limitations.

The Real Athletic Potential: Athletic Functional Capacity

Have you ever watched ESPN’s Sportscenter and witnessed our elite athletes make some amazing plays? Have you ever seen NHL’s Alex Ovechkin make an unbelievable shot while falling towards the ice? Or have you seen a line drive hit by Derek Jeter towards Clayton Kershaw and are absolutely sure that Kershaw’s face is the target, yet he “reflexively” sticks his glove out to snag the ball? Magic Johnson used to be ostensibly “clairvoyant”, running down the lane to pass the ball through four large defenders to Byron Scott for a layup. These almost superhuman tendencies are what I want to quantify.

The measurement tool that I want to employ starts with this question: Does neuroimpedance have a place in something that seems so natural and graceful?

Have you ever watched Bruce Lee’s 1-inch and 6-inch punch? (

How he is able to send a large capacity of concentrated forces from his brain through to his hips, core, chest, shoulder, and wrists towards his fist to literally knock the other person 8-10 feet back? It’s simply amazing.

There must be a way to measure a physical-athletic quotient, measuring if an athlete has the ability to explode onto the stage. Retaining the longevity of a professional career (like the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig)? I believe that Neuroimpedance and AFC could evaluate and answer these burning questions.

Of course, there are a few variables that cannot be accounted for, such as a major fall or collisions into walls and freak accidents. But even if they did, what is there a way to get an athlete back on the court or the field faster than expected and fully revived? Alternatively, there must be a metric to count out an athlete as un-salvageable.

This AFC may even contain the predictive value to provide information regarding the ability for an athlete to heal faster than expected from minor injuries. The AFC would be a great tool to determine if they are fit to play or even allowed to return back for the rest of the game after an initial injury.

These tools are introducing a new-era of sports strategy that doesn’t rely purely on statistics. This strategy of the future would consider the increasing chances to keep athletes healthy, prevent injuries, assess injury risks, and of course find weakness in the armor of major opposing stars. In fact, I am introducing an entirely different paradigm of athletic ability and longevity, which in turn will allow us to predict and prevent injury.

Analyzing “Natural” Tendencies

Refresher on the KSAS categories of AFC

Athletic Functional Capacity (Below Average, Average, Above Average, Athletic, Elite)

We all have that one naturally gifted athletic friend who “has good reflexes” (as coaches ceaselessly remind us).

I too have such a friend – Eric, the amazing athlete in every sport - swimming, running, tennis, or snowboarding – and his movements looked so natural. His movements were always a step above “regular” people. This “physical genius” is intangible, but measurable; nothing that any “regular” person can do can put them at the same innate level of athletic superiority of these naturally gifted athletes.

For example, Eric, now at 32 years old and years of smoking in and a distal ankle fracture with screws marred his background, leading me to believe that he was never bound to be athletic again. Or so I thought. With as little as two weeks of training, a brand new road bike, and new shoes he had yet to break in, Eric decided to compete in the Ironman competition, and he finished! To him all the training was nonsense and he did it with relative ease, when all others, including me, were certain of his demise.

By utilizing the KSAS, I was armed with the viable tools to assess his neuromuscular system – within two weeks of therapy and evaluation; his ankle was in near pristine shape for the race. He is simply built to heal and perform at an elite level.

The “intangible” in Eric’s feat and others like him is due to his almost complete lack of neuroimpedance from the messages sent from his brain to his ankle. With the proper retraining, normally take months to rehabilitate took two weeks. There was nothing impeding his incredibly refined system when assessed with Functional Manual Therapy™ testing measures and some others in the KSAS.

As mentioned in part 3, Rehab and Revive has branched off to further my research in the KSAS and we have signed our first professional athlete, Chris Pena, an MMA fighter. He too, is a neuromuscularly “quick learner”, albeit less than Eric.

If pitted against each other then, who would emerge victoriously? The trained fighter or the naturally inclined athlete?”

If my values stand correct, if Chris and Eric were pitted against each other 10 times. I’d likely favor Eric to win a majority of the time based on his AFC.

A Summary of the Conceptual Theory of KSAS I’d Like to Impart:

  • Issues with transmission and capacity yield and set-up athletes or individuals for injury

  • If transmission and capacity are intact and no Neuroimpedance issues are detected then KSAS measures the AFC category and will help an athlete measure his/her efficiency as she recovers and builds towards sports enhancement to handle the stresses of their respective sport

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