Ethical analysis of biometric data collection in collegiate athletics


  • Jack Reifenberg The Ohio State University


Technology has become an integral part of all aspects of life, especially for health and wellness. The most familiar use of technology within health and wellness is a device that tracks biometric data such as a Fitbit®, Apple Watch®, and other health monitoring services. Applying health data to overall wellness and performance has also been implemented into athletics as a means to track performance and analyze risk of injury. As new technology is developed and implemented into athletics, rules and regulations are warranted to ensure these devices are used effectively and responsibly. In the U.S., major sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and National Football League (NFL) have made provisions about wearable technology and established protocols for the collection, analysis, and management of biometric data. Many of these challenges at the professional level have been outlined in Barbara Osborne’s article, “Legal and Ethical Implications of Athletes’ Biometric Data Collection in Professional Sport”.3 Similar to professional sports organizations, technology for performance and injury risk analyses is being considered for college sports. College athletes however do not have the same rights and responsibilities as professionals. At the college level, there are unique potential legal and ethical challenges in regard to data collection and usage.






JUROS Science & Technology