Published on May 7, 2024 at 1:15 p.m. by Alison Ingle  
grace colyar carol ratcliffe

Does the timing of a game significantly impact athletic performance? Grace Colyar, who recently graduated Samford University’s School of Public Health with a Bachelor of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics and a concentration in sports injury prevention analytics, researched "Effects of Game Start Time on Basketball Metrics" to find out. In April, she presented this abstract and another study examining the financial performance of SEC athletics programs at the 2024 Student Research Colloquia.

She examined the physical performance variables of female basketball players during different times of the day, specifically the differences in acceleration and deceleration, distance covered and mechanical load during games.

Her research spanned 11 women's basketball games with various start times, during which players were equipped with portable technology to measure physical game data. According to Colyar’s study, games starting before 4 p.m. have better player metrics across all categories.

She was recently recognized for her work with the Department of Healthcare Administration and Informatics Award for Academic Excellence at the spring awards ceremony. Colyar's research is a testament to the practical application of Samford's Health Informatics and Analytics program, which equips graduates to be the critical link between healthcare providers and patients.

Carol Ratcliffe, chair of the department, stressed the importance of data analytics in health informatics and said it is a growing field that falls into the data science category. She said, "Many do not understand information management, which differs greatly from informatics and analytics. We successfully created a program by collaborating with other programs in the schools of public health, health sciences and arts and sciences."

Ratcliffe pointed out that while healthcare generates a flood of data, more qualified professionals are needed to present it in a way that supports decision-making. She said Colyar's project was an "extraordinary opportunity to put what she has learned in the classroom into practice with a focus in sports injury prevention analytics."

Samford offers an online Master of Science in Health Informatics and Analytics (MSHIA) and a minor option that introduces students to the field. By analyzing data for decision-making, our graduates are making a tangible difference in the world of health care.


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.