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Volume 26 No. 232
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Annual NFL Innovation Competition To Focus On Playing Surface Safety

The NFL's annual "1st and Future" innovation competition at Super Bowl LIV will focus on playing surfaces and how they influence leg and foot injuries, the league said today. Analysts will be invited to explore a set of injury and turf data hosted on the Google-owned data science community Kaggle, and to find new insights into the causes of leg injuries and ways to prevent them. NFL Exec VP/Health & Safety Innovation Jeff Miller said, "We can certainly work with epidemiologists to understand differential injury rates between turf and natural grass, but what you can’t get from epidemiologists is the sort of work we hope to get from the data analysis side: What exactly is going on?" Up to three winners will be awarded $25,000 and be invited to present their findings in Miami two days before the Super Bowl to an audience of NFL owners, execs, Super Bowl host committee members and the Univ. of Miami. The winner on stage will be awarded Super Bowl tickets. There also will be a separate competition for products that can make football safer in general, managed by Miami's U Innovation program. That event features a grand prize of $50,000 with two Super Bowl tickets and a 2nd place award of $25,000 and tickets. The league's data science event last year solicited suggestions on how to make punt plays safer.