Introducing “Sabermedicals”

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Clubs can analyze a player’s performance to the nth degree, crunch numbers until the sun goes down and build rosters accordingly, but it’s all for naught if a key guy pulls a hammy, strains an oblique or snaps a ligament in his elbow. To that end, the business of keeping guys healthy is incredibly and increasingly important.

To that end, clubs are looking for new ways to not only patch hurt guys up but to keep them from getting hurt in the first place. Today Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about the Cardinals’ efforts in this regard. Which he calls “sabermedicals.”

You can tell any organization’s priorities by how it’s organizational structure is set up. Not just sports teams, mind you. If a company has its security chief answering to the head janitor, it tells you what they think of security. By the same token, when a team like the Cardinals — like some other clubs — puts the folks analyzing medical data and working on prevention on equal footing with its actual medical staff, you can tell that it’s a priority.

It’s fascinating stuff. It used to be “rub some dirt on it and get back out there.” Then it was “let that ligament heal and get back out there.” Now it’s “let’s see how we can keep you out there the whole time, shall we?”