The 2023 Year in Review: How STEM Impacted Sports

As we head toward the new year, it is important to look back on 2023 and the advancements that have been made in STEM and the impact it has made in sports. The fusion of technology and other aspects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) within the sports sector has been transformative. This year, we’ve seen unprecedented ways in which STEM has not only enhanced athletes’ performance but how it has revolutionized the fan viewing experience and how they can interact with games and their favorite teams. In this article, we will dive into how STEM has impacted and furthered sports in 2023, painting a comprehensive picture of the exciting strides being taken in STEM – getting athletes, coaches, fans, and STEM educators excited for what is in store in 2024.

Advanced Analytics: Changing the Game

In recent years, advancements in analytics have had a major impact on the sports industry and how they are able to analyze data. Whether this be sports statisticians or a team coaching staff, these changes have optimized efficiencies and increased the impact of gathering historical data and analyzing it for future use. Below is a list of ways advanced analytics were used in sports in 2023: 

  • Big Data Analysis and Artificial Reality: Utilizing a combination of big data analysis and artificial reality, coaches and athletes have been able to maximize training potential, tailor strategies, and improve performance metrics more efficiently than ever before on a player-by-player basis. 
  • Predictive Data Analysis Tools: This year, data analysis tools have become pivotal in predicting game outcomes and player performance, providing teams with a competitive edge and new approaches to game preparation.
  • Enhanced Fan Experience through Social Media: Targeted social media content, driven by fans’ interests and favorite teams, has leveraged data analytics to offer a more personalized and engaging experience, transforming how fans interact with sports.

Equipment Evolution: The STEM Behind Gear

In recent years, there have been a variety of technological advancements in STEM that have revolutionized sports equipment. Many of these innovations are focused on player safety and health – aiming to give athletes longer, healthier careers. 

Here is a list of some of the many STEM-inspired equipment being used in sports:

  • Wearable Technology: Also known as connected fitness, wearable technology has become integral in tracking athlete performance and health metrics in real time. Wearable technology offers invaluable insights for training and performance enhancement and can help team doctors better understand the health of their athletes. 
  • Virtual Reality in Training: VR technology has provided athletes with the opportunity to train in various scenarios without the risk of injury or fatigue, allowing for a more versatile and safe training environment.
  • Helmets with Built-In Headsets: In most contact sports’ athletes use helmets to prevent injury. Now, STEM professionals have found a way to make these safety-oriented helmets effective in other ways – allowing players to communicate directly with coaches from the field. 

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Talent Scouting

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is shaping many industries, including sports. AI technology allows individuals to be more efficient with their time and dive deeper into topics than ever before. Access to this technology has redefined talent scouting in sports and has created a new way for teams to discover athletes around the world. 


In a CBS article titled ‘FAU Studs how AI Could Impact Sports Recruiting’ by Jacqueline Quynh, talks about how an app focused on collegiate soccer recruiting is changing the landscape for recruiting across all sports. The app, AI Scout, allows players to upload videos and statistics to the app allowing it to be instantly analyzed and shared with coaches looking to fill a position matching the skillset. The article predicts that soccer is just the beginning and AI will continue being leveraged across all sports – changing the way student-athletes can be discovered and have the opportunity to play at the college level and beyond.

Virtual Reality: Training the Athletes of Tomorrow

The use of virtual reality (VR) in training regimens has been a standout feature of 2023. VR technology is often known for its use with elderly patients to promote mental stimulation and, in some cases, exercise. This technology is being used for similar purposes among athletes, where they can conduct situational training without the risk of injury or fatigue before a game or other sporting events. 


A Springer Link study discusses how golfers are using VR to practice their putting off the course. The VR experience allows athletes to practice their form from wherever they are – exercising a transferable skill that can be used later on during a real-life sports scenario. This can also be seen in soccer players practicing headers, football players practicing a play, or volleyball players strategizing how they would react in a match.

Injury Prevention and Recovery: A Scientific Approach

2023 has also seen significant advancements in sports medicine; particularly in injury prevention and recovery. Through general advancements in modern medicine, sports medicine doctors are equipped with skills help them cater to the unique needs of athletes. These medical professionals have also been able to rely heavily on wearable technology to better understand their athletes and changes to their health. This helps them to not only treat active injuries but take preventative measures to minimize the risk of injury or critical illness.

Fan Engagement: A New Era of Interaction

Technology has dramatically transformed the fan experience. This year, these technological advancements have reached stadiums, creating a new, exciting experience for fans. This immersive new experience allows fans to better understand the team, varying statistics, and the stadium they are in. 

 

Brand XR created an article that takes a deep dive into augmented reality and how it is impacting the way fans interact with sporting events. It talks about the interactive elements offered to in-stadium and at-home fans, increasing fan excitement and interaction with teams. 

Sustainability in Sports: The Green Play

In 2023, many collegiate and professional sports teams and their stadium venues have joined global sustainability efforts. Many are pushing to create more sustainable habits to be a zero-waste facility in the future. The New York Times wrote an article,At Sports Stadiums, Reducing Waste Is a Team Effort’ by Ken Belson, about the efforts of reducing waste caused by sports stadiums. The article highlights the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, home to the Atlanta Falcons, and their sustainable habits that have landed them the title of the country’s greenest sports stadium. Heading into the new year, this is a trend that will likely continue seeing all stadiums across the country moving towards green initiatives to help support the planet.

STEM Education’s Role in Sports Advancements

STEM education stands as a cornerstone in nurturing the next wave of innovators and problem solvers. In a world increasingly driven by technology and scientific advancement, the significance of STEM education continues to grow and cannot be highlighted enough. It’s not just about equipping students with the hard skills in STEM, but about sparking a passion for discovery and innovation. STEM educators are responsible for creating the next generation of passionate, qualified STEM employees who, in the future, will play a role in the STEM creations that impact the sports world. In 2043, maybe your child or student will have a hand in the inventions being mentioned in a blog like this one!

STEM Sports® in 2023

STEM Sports® is an education company that provides K-8 turnkey supplemental STEM curriculum to K-8 students. Each lesson uses a different sport to connect key STEM concepts to real-world situations. The curriculum gets students excited about what they are learning and helps them connect it to something they love – sports! In 2023, STEM Sports® created three (3) new curriculum, sold over 500 sport kits, and impacted countless future STEM professionals exercising their leadership, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.

To keep up with our company and our STEM offerings in the new year, visit our website.

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