Published on January 31, 2024  
Womens soccer

Since its inception in 2017, Samford University’s Center for Sports Analytics has provided a forum for students and industry professionals to learn about the increasing role of data analytics in the global sports industry. Three primary focuses of the center include sports business analytics, performance analytics, and human performance analytics. 

Now, with the increasing concern about sports related injuries and mental health, experts in the center are adding a new focus to the work of the center to help make sports safer for student-athletes. 

Work already done by the center in this capacity includes its representation at a New York City summit jointly hosted by Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League entitled “Head Injury in Soccer: From Science to the Field.” The mission of the conference was to identify, discuss and disseminate evidence-based science related to the findings and conclusions of the fifth International Conference on Concussion in Sport held by the Concussion in Sport Group and apply them to the sport of soccer. It was at this event that Darin White, executive director of the center, met Chris Nowinski, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF). 

Subsequently, the center, in collaboration with the CLF, conducted a national poll on Americans' views related to youth sports safety. A resulting study gained recognition in the 2022 LA Times article, "Max Tuerk’s parents view football differently after learning son had CTE." 

Strengthening its commitment to this effort, Samford’s Brock School of Business recently welcomed Jean Sullivan, wife of the late Heisman Trophy-winning and Samford football coach Pat Sullivan, to its Sports Marketing Advisory Board. Coach Sullivan's battle with CTE was reported by the Washington Post in December 2023. White emphasized, "The addition of Jean Sullivan to our board will elevate everything we hope to accomplish related to making sports safer." 

Looking ahead, Samford’s Center for Sports Analytics is poised to make a genuine impact in the ongoing effort to enhance sports safety, concerning both the physical and the mental well-being of student-athletes, through ongoing research and collaborative efforts with organizations that promote safety in athletics. 

Support Samford’s Center for Sports Analytics

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.