Nike Developing High-Tech Plane for Athletes?

Nike and design firm Teague have come up with a design for an “Athlete’s Plane” so they can have “home-team advantage at 40,000 feet”.

Imagine how uncomfortable it must be for athletes (think 7 foot tall basketball players, 6’4 330 pound football players) to travel on the average airplane. OK, even if they are flying in business class or on a private jet with a little extra space would this still be optimal for performance?

In a post by Teague they cite a 2008 study published in Scientific American that showed MLB teams traveling to games 3 time zones away lost 60% of those games! According to German researchers in a 2002 study, “motor function measurably deteriorates in athletes after air travel”. This level of deterioration lasted the same number of days as time zones crossed.

Teague decided to create an airplane interior focused on the needs of these athletes. They decided to collaborate with Nike’s design team and training experts to come up with a design for the interior of an athlete’s plane.

While there are no plans as of yet to actually build this plane, it sure is an interesting concept and I’d bet that the athletes would love this idea.

When describing the “Athlete’s Plane”, Teague plans it for a basketball team.

The plane would focus on 4 areas of performance:

  1. Recovery: equalizing the negative effects of air travel on the mind and body, and bringing the training room to 40,000 feet through in-flight biometrics and analysis to accelerate injury diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Circulation: fostering natural mobility and building in equipment that ensures optimal circulation and promotes healing.
  3. Sleep: designing ideal sleeping conditions for individuals and sleep strategies for entire teams to maximize physical readiness.
  4. Thinking: creating spaces for key mental activities, especially film study—enabling in-transit film review both before and after games. 

The plan would essentially be something like a flying locker room with enough areas to move around, relax, sleep and recharge.

This sounds like a pretty cool concept. I wonder what the odds are (and the cost would be) that this plan ever gets built.

Find out more in the post from Teague here.

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