Why

To see if the Firefly Recovery Device has a positive effect on a student athlete’s recovery from a Tuesday’s Organized Team Activities (OTA) practice and performance for a Thursdays Organized Team Activities (OTA) practice, in hopes that this will translate into the season and allow our athletes to be better recovered and prepared for practice and games.

Who

Using several determining factors, two football student athletes from each position group (QB, RB, WR, OL, TE, DL, LB, DB) were chosen to wear a Firefly Recovery Device for a specified pre-determined period. These determining factors included:

  • Having a high work output level during Organized Team Activities (OTA) practices with similar rep loads (using Kinexon GPS tracking system)
  • Similar recovery habits
  • No current injury
  • Was someone we believed would be compliant with the use of the Firefly Recovery Device.

One athlete was chosen to wear a Firefly Recovery Device for a specified period of time on specified days. The other athlete was to act as a control and would not wear the Firefly Recovery Device. 

How

One athlete from each position group who was shown to average the highest workload throughout an Organized Team Activity (OTA)  was selected to wear a Firefly on select days and times. This data was compared to an athlete in the same position group who averaged similar workloads.

After a Tuesday Organized Team Activity (OTA), the selected athlete from each position group wore a designated firefly recovery device for 2 hours following the OTA. They were instructed to turn it off after that time but keep it on until they returned to the facility on Wednesday morning and returned it to a member of the sports medicine staff. Following the Wednesday morning workout, each selected athlete placed their designated firefly recovery device back on and were instructed to wear it for 4 hours. The firefly recovery devices were returned to the sports medicine staff Thursday morning and again placed back on each selected athlete following Thursdays OTA for 2 hours.

Organized Team Activities (OTA) practices occurred on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Kinexon Data for Tuesday and Thursday’s practice was compared between weeks with no firefly recovery device and weeks with a firefly recovery device use, as well as compared to the athlete in their position group who was not wearing the Firefly recovery device. The purpose was to see if the athlete showed they were able to maintain a higher workload during Thursday’s OTA practice during the week with a firefly recovery device compared to the week with no firefly recovery device. We also compared this data to the control athlete with similar rep counts. 

The data points provided by Kinexon (a live GPS tracking system) were used because we felt they best reflected the athletes ability to perform at a high level. This is because these metrics measured intensity over anything else.The measured metrics were: 

  • Max Speed: This was the athlete max speed that they ran during this practice.
  • % of Max Speed: This is the percent of the athletes overall max speed that he was able to obtain during practice.
  • Acceleration (Max): This is how quickly an athlete can increase their velocity.
  • Metabolic Power per Mass (Max): Metabolic Power is a product of the acceleration and deceleration the athlete going through in a movement and is the energy expended to create that acceleration and deceleration movements.
Quarterback Data

No Firefly

Quarterback 1

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, QB1 did not wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that during the No Firefly Week his output in all 4 metrics measured had decreased from Tuesdays practice to Thursdays practice. Wheras all 4 of these metrics increased during the Firefly week. Although he did not wear a Firefly there are many other factors that could have contributed to this increase in performance; such as other forms of recovery (Normatec, Compex, stretching, etc…) and acclimatization to the practice load.

Wearing Firefly

Quarterback 2

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study,  QB2 wore a Firefly during the Firefly week. Looking at the Kinexon Data it appears that during the Firefly week the athlete was able to have an increase in all 4 metrics measured which helps confirm our hypothesis. As expected the athletes performance decreased on Thursdays practice during the No Firefly week and increased on Thursdays practice during the Firefly week. While this increase during the Firefly week could be due to other factors it helps strengthen our hypothesis when his data is compared to that of QB1.

It is also interesting to note for QB2 who did wear the Firefly, that not only did his performance increase on Thursdays practice with the use of the Firefly, but is also increased to a level greater than that of Tuesdays practice of the No Firefly week.

Comparing Kinexon Data

Blue Bars: No Firefly Quarterback

Red Bars: Firefly Quarterback

During the study, QB1 did not wear a Firefly and QB2 did wear a Firefly during Firefly week. QB1 is represented in Blue and QB2 is represented in red. Looking at the Kinexon data from the two quarterbacks it is clear that both of them had a better OTA practice on Thursday than they did on Tuesday, with all 4 metrics measured being greater during their Thursday OTA practice. However, it is interesting to note that for all 4 of these metrics measured, the increase was greater for QB2 who was wearing the Firefly. This helps in confirming our hypothesis that the Firefly would aid in better recovering the athletes wearing them and better prepare them for practice and games.

Running Back Data

No Firefly

Running Back 1

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, RB1 did not wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that for all for metrics measured he either stayed about the same or increased in performance during the Thursday Organized Team Activities (OTA) practice for both the No Firefly and the Firefly Week. Although he did not wear a Firefly there are many other factors that could have contributed to this increase in performance, such as other forms of recovery (Normatec, Compex, stretching, etc…) and acclimatization to the practice load.

Wearing Firefly

Running Back 2 

 Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, RB2 wore a Firefly during the Firefly Week. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that his Max Speed and % of Max Speed decreased in Thursdays Organized Team Acitivity (OTA) practice when compared to the Tuesday OTA practice of that week. Whereas his acceleration remained the same. It is important to note that during the first week of this study the athlete did sustain a Hamstring injury and was attempting to return to play during the time of the study as well which likely skewed the data obtained and made this data inaccurate. Because of this injury we cannot accurately compare it to his No Firefly week as well as to that of RB1 (not wearing a Firefly) during the Firefly Week.

 Comparing Kinexon Data   

Blue Bars: No Firefly Running Back

Red Bars: Firefly Firefly Running Back

During the study, RB1 did not wear a Firefly and RB2 did wear a Firefly during Firefly week. RB1 is represented in Blue and RB2 is represented in red. Looking at the Kinexon data from the two Running Backs it appears that during the Firefly week RB2 was unable to have an increase or maintain his performance in Thursdays Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice. Again, this data is skewed and cannot be considered accurate as RB2 was attempting to return from a Hamstring injury from the week before and was therefore unable to perform at his best, was modified with reps, and may have been practicing with some pain.

Offensive Line Data

No Firefly

Offensive Lineman 1

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, OL1 did not wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that his performance followed any type of trend. His ability to reach a higher percentage of his max speed and his max speed in practice appeared to decrease during the firefly week but increase during the firefly week. Whereas his max acceleration increased from Tuesday to Thursday during both weeks and his metabolic power per mass increased during the No Firefly week and increased during the Firefly week.

Wearing Firefly

Offensive Lineman 2

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, OL2 did wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that during the No Firefly week all four of the metrics measured decreased from Tuesday to Thursdays Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice but increased during the Firefly week. This helps support our hypothesis as it appears that he was able to reach a higher max speed and % of his max speed, he was able to have a higher max acceleration, and was able to work at a higher metabolic power per mass. This further supports our hypothesis when you compare it to that of OL1.

Comparing Kinexon Data

Blue Bars: No Firefly Offensive Lineman

Red Bars: Firefly Firefly Offensive Lineman

During the study, OL1 did not wear a Firefly and OL2 did wear a Firefly during Firefly week. OL1 is represented in Blue and OL2 is represented in red. Looking at the Kinexon data from the two Offensive Lineman during the Firefly week OL1 did have an increase in Max Speed, % of Max Speed, and Max Acceleration, however he had a decrease in Metabolic Power per mass whereas OL2 had an increase in all 4 metrics during this week. Secondly, the increase for OL2 was larger than the increase in these metrics for OL1. This further supports the hypothesis that the Firefly will help in having our athletes better prepared for practices and games to allow them to perform at their best.

Defensive Back Data

No Firefly

Defensive Back 1

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, DB1 did not wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that in both the No Firefly week and the Firefly week he saw a decrease in all 4 metrics measured from Tuesday to Thursdays Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice. This is expected, as it was hypothesized that as the days went on, the athletes not wearing the Firefly would either see a decrease in their work output, or a slight increase, with the increase in performance being greater in the Firefly athletes.

Wearing Firefly

Defensive Back 2

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, DB2 wore a Firefly during the Firefly Week. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that although his Max speed, Max Acceleration, and ability to reach a higher percentage of his Max speed decreased from Tuesday to Thursday during the No Firefly week, all four of his metrics that were measured increased from Tuesday to Thursday during the Firefly week. Similar to some of the other No Firefly athletes, this increase during the Firefly week could have been due to other factors such as the use of other forms of recovery, acclimatization to the workload, and many others. The differences during the Firefly week becomes more important when you compare it to his Firefly counterpart.

Comparing Kinexon Data

 

Blue Bars: No Firefly Defensive Back

Red Bars: Firefly Firefly Defensive Back

During the study, DB1 did not wear a Firefly and DB2 did wear a Firefly during Firefly week. DB1 is represented in Blue and DB2 is represented in red. Looking at the Kinexon data from the two Defensive Back during the Firefly week the data emulates what was hypothesized. Although on Tuesdays Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice during the Firefly week DB1 appears to have been able to perform better than DB, as the week went on DB1 was either only able to slightly maintain this work output for some of the metrics measured such as his Max speed and % of Max Speed obtained or had a decrease in others such as his Max Acceleration and Metabolic Power per Mass. This is compared to DB2 who was wearing a Firefly and saw a significant increase in all 4 of his metrics measured.

Linebacker Data

No Firefly

Linebacker 1

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, LB1 did not wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that similar to other position groups, although he was not wearing a Firefly he was still able to maintain his work output, with a slight increase in some of the metrics measured such as his Max Acceleration and Metabolic Power per Mass (Max). This only becomes important when compared to his Linebacker counterpart who was wearing a Firefly.

Wearing Firefly

Linebacker 2

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, LB2 wore a Firefly during the Firefly Week. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that with the use of the Firefly during the Firefly week he was able to improve his Max Speed, Metabolic Power per Mass, and was able to reach a higher percentage of his Max Speed. His only work output metrics that was measured that decreased during the Firefly week was his Max Acceleration. This is compared to his No Firefly week which saw an increase in several of his metrics measured as well, however, not to the extend of his Firefly Week.

Comparing Kinexon Data

Blue Bars: No Firefly Linebacker

Red Bars: Firefly Firefly Linebacker

During the study, LB1 did not wear a Firefly and LB2 did wear a Firefly during Firefly week. LB1 is represented in Blue and LB2 is represented in red. Looking at the Kinexon data from the two Linebackers during the Firefly week it follows the same trend we have seen in many of the other position groups studied. Similar to the other position groups studied, although the No Firefly Linebacker had an increase in the measured metrics, Linebacker 2 was an increase as well and to a greater extent. The only measured metric that Linebacker 1 saw an increase in and Linebacker 2 saw a decrease in was Max Acceleration; Which could have simply been due to the effort put out during practice from Linebacker 2. Meaning during that Thursdays Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice Linebacker 2 may not have put as much effort into going all out for practice.

Defensive Line Data

No Firefly

D-Lineman 1

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, DL1 did not wear a Firefly. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that his data did not follow any specific trend. Although he had an increase in his Max Speed and % of Max Speed during both the No Firefly Week and the Firefly Week, he had a greater increase in his Max Speed and % of Max Speed during the No Firefly Week. His Max Acceleration saw a decrease in both weeks, with a greater decrease in the Firefly Week and his Metabolic Power per Mass saw an increase in the No Firefly week and a decrease in the Firefly week.

Wearing Firefly

D-Lineman 2

Red Bars: No Firefly Week

Blue Bars: Firefly Week

During the study, DL2 wore a Firefly during the Firefly Week. Looking at his Kinexon data it appears that during the No Firefly week he saw a decrease in all 4 metrics that were measured. During the Firefly week he did see a decrease in his Max acceleration and his Metabolic Power per Mass, however this was not as significant of a decrease as it was in the No Firefly week. It could be suggested that the Firefly aided in minimizing the decrease in his Max Acceleration and Metabolic Power per Mass.

Comparing Kinexon Data

 

Blue Bars: No Firefly Defensive Lineman

Red Bars: Firefly Firefly Defensive Lineman

During the study, DL1 did not wear a Firefly and DL2 did wear a Firefly during Firefly week. DL1 is represented in Blue and DL2 is represented in red. Looking at the Kinexon data from the two Defensive Lineman during the Firefly week we can further conclude that the Firefly has helped aid in recovery the athletes and better preparing them for practices in game. When you look at this data you can see that although both D-Lineman had an increase in their Max Speed and were able to reach a higher percentage of their Max Speed on Thursdays Organized Team Activity (OTA) compared to Tuesday’s, D-Lineman 2, who was wearing a Firefly, had a greater increase. Secondly, although both D-Lineman had a decrease in Max Acceleration and Metabolic Power per Mass on Thursday’s OTA practice compared to Tuesdays, D-Lineman 2 had less of a decrease.

 

Comparing Firefly vs. Non-Firefly Users

Comparing Kinexon Data

Blue Bars: Not Wearing Firefly

Red Bars: Wearing Firefly

 

Overall, it's clear that the athletes who were wearing the Firefly had a greater increase during the Firefly week in all 4 metrics that were measured, meaning that after Tuesdays practice and the use of the Firefly on Tuesday post practice, Wednesday morning, and Thursday morning, these athletes were then able to go out for Thursday practice and reach a higher Max Speed, a higher percentage of their overall max speed, they were able to accelerated faster, and were able to work at a higher Metabolic Power per Mass, than they were able to on their Tuesdays practice. This is compared to the athletes not wearing a Firefly who were not able to perform this much greater and, in some cases, saw a decrease in their performance.

There are many other factors that could have affected this difference in performance between the two groups, including the amount of sleep each athlete had, other recovery tools, etc… However, because we tried to eliminate most of these factors by using two athletes who had similar rep loads during practice and similar recovery habits in the training room, and the one common factor was the Firefly, we believe this increased performance to be due to the use of the Firefly.

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Chris Litt, M.Ed., LAT, ATC

Associate Director of Sports Medicine / Head Football Athletic Trainer

March 01, 2024
Tags: Football