(July 1, 2014)
Alumnus Jeff Stotts highlighted in The Daily Beast
SHREVEPORT, LA — Certified athletic trainer and alumnus Jeff Stotts '05 was recently hailed as the "Nate Silver of Sports Injuries" in The Daily Beast for his impressive ability to predict how sports injuries affect athletes' playtime. For sports hobbyists and fantasy-team fans, statistics such as these are highly coveted for making picks and strategically setting lineups.
"(Fantasy sports is a) billion dollar industry," said Stotts. "Everyone wants the best player available and you don't want the guy who is injury prone. I break down sports injuries into laymen's terms and explain how they affect players and what you can expect."
Since October 2012, Stotts has been building a comprehensive injury database based on statistics from NBA games. The figures include information about injuries that forced players to miss games and also any noted injuries in their professional career. He has cataloged the careers of more than 850 players and has a complete set of data dating back to 2008.
In addition to his hobby database project, Stotts writes for his own website, InStreetClothes.com, and for various other columns as a way to help the average sports fan better understand the impact of sports-related injuries. He currently serves as the Injury Analyst for Rotowire.com, is a regular contributor to DallasBasketball.com, and has had work appear on the New York Times Baseball Blog andFoxsports.com. He has also contributed to baseball statistician Nate Silver's website, FiveThirtyEight.com, SI.com, and Bleacher Report.
"It has been a really cool whirlwind over the past years," said Stotts. "Now actual NBA teams want to know more about me." For example, a physical therapist and a doctor associated with the Phoenix Suns have recently contacted Stotts to exchange information about injury statistics and ideas about how Stotts' analysis might have relevance beyond the fantasy sports realm.
His successful database and writing hobby originates back to his time at Centenary where he was encouraged to explore his passion for sports, even as a biology major.
"That's what I loved about Centenary—the liberal arts aspect of everything," said Stotts. "I was able to write while taking biology courses. In a psychology course we were told that we could apply statistics to something we were interested in so it wasn't just another assignment to get done, so I looked at sports statistics and built a foundation of the work you see today."
When Stotts is not cataloging injuries or writing articles, he is the Head Athletic Trainer for Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas.
"(At the Academy) I'm using what I'm learning statistically to speak to my athletes about trends that we see with injuries," said Stotts. "My research keeps me accurate."
Stotts is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and won the 2011 FSWA Award for Best Fantasy Football Article in Print for his article on inherent injury risk in football players. He is a multigenerational alumnus and is married to Centenary alumna Emily Argue '06.