Improving in-game performance of NFL officials the aim for Notre Dame academic

Tania Spiteri will work with a team of researchers at Purdue University to track the movement of NFL officials using state-of-the-art GPS technology.

29 June 2015

Tania Spiteri, Lecturer in Health Sciences at The University of Notre Dame Australia, will conduct vital research with the National Football League (NFL) in Dallas, USA, on 1 July 2015 to improve the performance standards, on-field decision making and fitness capacity of 160 officials.

Ms Spiteri, the only Australian involved in this project, will work with a team of researchers at Purdue University, Indiana, to track the movement of NFL officials using state-of-the-art GPS technology to be installed at the playing venues of the 32 teams.

This is on the back of research Ms Spiteri conducted in 2014 whilst at Purdue. Her research not only tracked how NFL officials moved during the four hour matches; pre-game and post-game nutrition; and what athletic attributes they needed to complete their on-field job better, but also how to mitigate lower back, hip and knee injuries due to poor physiological management.

"The reason why our research is focused on officials is that they are responsible for crucial in-game decisions that could ultimately decide the outcome of a match," Ms Spiteri said.

"NFL officials are constantly required to perform explosive movements to keep up with the play, as well as possess an enhanced physiological capacity and ability to make more informed decisions whilst fatigued.

"It is hoped that through the in-game GPS tracking of NFL officials we will be able to calculate their body loading, movement, distance covered and levels of fatigue, and in turn, develop performance standards to improve their fitness, physiological capacity and post-match recovery."

Ms Spiteri's research will also extend to players in a holistic manner so that all NFL clubs can improve the profiling, strength, development and biomechanics of their players.

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;