Can Technology Make Sports Safer?


We’re a nation of sports nuts. We rally around our favorite teams, deify athletes, and sustain a multi-billion-dollar industry built to celebrate athleticism and human endurance. As a result, the stakes are high for athletes to consistently outperform each other and their own prior outings, often at their own expense. Despite how effortless athletes make their performances look on the field, their bodies are constantly under duress, constantly on the verge of the next injury, often maximizing short-term glory at the expense of longer-term health and well-being.

Technologies ranging from high-tech helmets, mobile virtual players, training robots, and biometric data services are being deployed with an eye towards sidelining most sports injuries. Join us on Thursday, March 23, in Washington, D.C., to consider the effectiveness of these efforts to make sports safer, and our relationship as fans to the bravado sports culture that can at times romanticize injuries and view them as an integral part of the game.

The reception will begin at 5:30 pm; followed by the main program at 6:00 pm.

Follow the discussion online using #SportsTech and following @FutureTenseNow.

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University


6:00 pm - 6:10 pm Can Technology Make Sports Safer?

Nicholas Schmidle
Staff writer, The New Yorker
Author, "Can Technology Make Football Safer?"

6:10 pm - 6:50 pm The New MVPs: Robots, VR & Wearables to the Rescue

Ellen Arruda
Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Macromolecular Science and Engineering, University of Michigan

Derek Belch
Co-founder and CEO, STRIVR Labs

Roderick Moore Jr.
Vice President of Sports Performance, Catapult Sports

Buddy Teevens
Head Coach, Dartmouth Football


Nicholas Schmidle
Staff writer, The New Yorker
Author, "Can Technology Make Football Safer?"

6:50 pm - 7:30 pm But Won't Injuries Always Be a Part of the Game?

George Atallah
Assistant Executive Director for External Affairs, NFL Player's Association

Victoria Jackson
Sports historian, Arizona State University

Jeff Miller
Executive Vice President of Player Health and Safety, National Football League

Kenneth Shropshire
Director, Wharton Sports Business Initiative, University of Pennsylvania


Josh Levin
Executive Editor, Slate