Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does the Sparta Science software do?

    Movement capability is a fundamental component of human health. Our cloud-based software leverages data from force plates to objectively understand how individuals move in an efficient, repeatable way. This information can help us understand how well prepared a person is for different types of activities, which individuals are at a heightened risk for injury, at what type of activities a person is likely to excel, and how individuals can improve their movement capability. Each organization uses Sparta in a unique way to achieve their desired outcomes.

  • How does the software work?

    Individuals complete up to three unique assessments that provide objective data in a range of metrics. The software then leverages insights from our database of over a million scans to identify the individual’s potential risk for injury. Training recommendations are then provided based on that risk and the types of activities in which they engage. For a quick overview of the assessment process, check out this video.

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  • What do the different assessments tell you?

    The balance and plank scans are used to measure an individual’s ability to statically stabilize on a single limb. These results can be used to screen for potential injury risk, identify limb asymmetries, and provide objective measures of progress throughout rehabilitation.

    The jump scan is used to characterize an individual’s dynamic movement strategy which relates to how they complete any force-requiring movement, such as jumping, walking, swimming, hitting, picking up a heavy box, etc. It is also used to identify potential risk of injury, to identify or classify individuals for a particular position or skill, and to assess individual readiness for activity.

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  • How do you ensure your data is reliable?

    The reliability of our assessments is at the core of our values. First and foremost, we want to provide our customers with reliable assessments and present only the most reliable variables within those assessments, filtering the signal from the noise. The assessments we provide have a unique error detection system which filters bad trials in real time.

    Much of the variability of force plate data can be explained by individuals attempting to cheat the test. Sparta is the only software solution that provides this filtering to standardize the data as it comes in. Furthermore, our reliability research is completed using an aggregation of all data across all our partner organizations, accounting for any variability in ability and skill. This data is then analyzed by independent, third-party statisticians to ensure an unbiased analysis.

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  • How do you validate your data?

    We use both internal analysis and external peer reviewed publications to validate the ability of the metrics to accurately predict injury with sensitivity and specificity, the ability of the metrics to predict occupational performance outcomes, and the ability to improve these metrics and outcomes with targeted training.

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  • What kind of research is performed internally at Sparta?

    Internally, our data scientists use a retrospective study approach due to the nature of the data we are collecting. Routine reliability and validity studies are performed as the database grows in order to validate prior findings and glean new insights to pass along to our customers. In addition to the collection of routine assessments, we systematically gather outcome data such as injuries, in-game performance metrics, availability, and more, allowing us to understand how movement capacity influences these measures.

    In addition to our retrospective data science approach, we conduct prospective studies in partnership with outside researchers to further validate these core metrics.

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  • Why don't you report on other metrics like peak force?

    Sparta doesn’t display countless other variables (like peak force) for a number of reasons, the most important being that we have not found any other variables to be reliable and valid enough to warrant further investigation. In fact, for two years we tested different unilateral jumps (vertical, horizontal, and lateral) from the force plate and were disappointed to find poor intra-trial and test-retest reliability. We continue to work to identify new variables and assessments that will provide value to our partners, as well as new insights from our ever-growing database. Having said that, no additions will be made unless they meet our requirements for reliability.

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  • Why don't you measure right vs. left limbs?

    Studies that examine the effects of inter-limb asymmetry on measures of physical performance are scarce, but research has shown that they tend to be task-specific. There isn’t always agreement depending upon the assessment or task at hand. For example, a recent paper states that “asymmetries vary across commonly used strength and jumping-based tests, and that the same side is also rarely favored.” This means that the right leg can be dominant in a squat, and the left leg dominant in a jump. Other studies have found that even multiple similar dynamic tests don’t always agree. The agreement is questionable in our in-house research as well. Defining and measuring asymmetry, while seemingly simple on the surface, is much more complex in practice. We address unilateral balance and global stability issues using tests that have shown to be much more reliable—and those metrics help create individual baseline scores and guides for Return to Play programming.

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  • Why do you use a vertical jump for your assessment?

    There are a number of reasons why we chose the vertical jump to measure an individual’s movement pattern. First and foremost, because of gravity, how an individual interacts with the ground, can largely explain and quantify how that individual moves (strengths and deficiencies). The vertical jump (and the variables we collect) do not require a large amount of skill. Someone who jumps high does not necessarily have a better movement signature than someone who does not jump high. Because the test is simple, we’re able to standardize this assessment and there is high reliability in the variables being measured. The vertical jump is simple, quick, and non-invasive so the assessment can be done frequently and consistently (logistics and practicality are KING).

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  • Why do you use T-scores in your software?

    There are a few reasons why T-scores are utilized to visualize and display data in the Sparta Platform. Each raw variable has much different units and ranges, making it difficult to compare them to one another. For example, 5.7 is much lower than 4,358, but relatively speaking may be a much higher value when compared to normative data. Utilizing T-scores allows us to understand significant and meaningful changes. For example if 5.7 increases to 5.9, is that a larger (or smaller) relative change than 4,358 increasing to 7,690? Are either of those changes significant? How about meaningful? Perhaps the largest value of the Sparta Platform comes from this aggregated database of standardized data. This allows for data to be immediately meaningful as opposed to spending a few years collecting data in order for it to be useful.

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  • Why isn't the database segmented by sport or other variables?

    The data used to calculate the T-scores presented in the software include all of the data from male and female populations collected over the years (millions of scans!). This allows for easy comparison between subjects and enables us to uncover powerful trends in human movement, which are universal. For example, the same underlying trends for hamstring injuries are found in soccer, football, and military populations. Aggregating these subgroups together creates a predictive model with greater statistical power. Our database is, however, segmented into more granular groups (age, activity type), enabling us to create more specific predictions (a baseball player is inherently more prone to a UCL injury than a soccer player due to the activities in which they engage).

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  • Is there someone at Sparta to help me after I purchase a system?

    Absolutely! We have a team of customer success managers to help answer both technical and non-technical questions around the use and results of the system. We’re here to ensure your success with the platform.

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  • What types of organizations do you work with?

    We work with organizations in health, the military, and sports. We work across all different levels of sports including professional, collegiate, high school, and youth. Additionally, we work with a wide range of military groups, hospitals, health clinics, and in the occupational health space.

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  • How do I sign up?

    We’re excited to have you on board! Please set up a demo with us by filling out the form below and we’ll get you going on the system.

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