Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Lake Success, NY (July 24, 2013) – Polar (www.polar.com), the leader in heart rate monitoring and fitness assessment technologies, announced today that it will be the "Preferred Heart Rate Technology Supplier" for the Professional Referee Organization (PRO), the managing organization for North American soccer referees, through 2015.

PRO is the organization responsible for overseeing the referee and assistant referee program in professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada, working alongside the U.S. Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer, Canadian Soccer Association, the North American Soccer League, United Soccer League PRO and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

"From watching any match, we know that soccer players must train to be in elite athletic shape, but fans may not fully appreciate the intense physical demands also put on referees to do their jobs well," said Herb Baer, Polar USA president. "We’re proud that our technology will enable PRO to adequately gauge whether referees are in optimal shape for games throughout the year, as well as help decrease the potential for injuries and avoid over-fatigue."

Heart rate technology from Polar will be used to help U.S. referees affiliated with PRO monitor their exercise intensity at all times, optimize their fitness levels, and help prevent overtraining and injuries. The referees will mainly use the Polar RS400, which integrates ‘Smart Coaching’ – unique training guidance and features that have been developed by Polar over the last 35 years for planning, monitoring and analyzing each session in detail. Some of the key features of the Polar RS400 include:

  • Fitness Test – gets a measure of users’ current fitness level in just five minutes.  By regularly comparing test results, users can see what progress they are making and how their fitness is improving over time.
  • OwnZone – adjusts personal heart rate zones based on users’ current physiological condition. It guides training at the right intensity, making every session more effective.
  • Running Index – scores a run based on speed and distance data from the stride sensor or GPS and heart rate data. By recording Running Index over time, users can monitor progress.
  • Smart Calories – calculates the number of calories expended during a training session based on weight, height, age, gender, your individual maximum heart rate (HRmax) and how hard users are training.
  • Training Load – displays users’ cumulative training load – within polarpersonaltrainer.com – providing notification on when they have recovered enough for the next session, while accurately predicting training developments to prevent overtraining.

By using the real-time heart rate data retrieved from the RS400, referees, who rely on operating at peak fitness to keep up with action on the soccer field, will now have the kinds of tools accessible to them that are more traditionally associated with the professional athletes they officiate. For instance, they can now measure how much energy they expended during training, how hard their bodies are impacted and how much recovery time they will need to for the demands of each game and throughout the season. The data collected is incredibly precise and personalized based on each referee’s age, height, weight and fitness level. This data can inform PRO about the level of fitness of each referee, and thus accurately gauge whether he or she needs more training.

"The standard of fitness for match officials has significantly increased and PRO recognizes the technological advantage heart rate training can provide," said Matt Hawkey, PRO's Sports Scientist. "This partnership with Polar ensures that each match official has the knowledge to adequately train for the demands of the job and also keeps the training staff informed about the physiological performance of each match official."

For more information on Polar and its partners, please visit http://www.polar.com/us-en/polar_community or http://www.polar.com/us-en/polar_community/sponsorships.

About Polar
Headquartered in Lake Success, NY, Polar USA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Finland-based Polar Electro OY, which invented the first wireless heart rate monitor (HRM) in 1977. Polar now operates internationally in more than 80 countries and its products are sold through 35,000 retailers globally. Polar heart rate and fitness assessment technology delivers unparalleled insight into the human body from valuable training guidance and feedback, to enabling individuals to improve their fitness level and sports performance. Polar technology is key to the success of leading fitness facilities, athletic teams, corporate wellness facilities, health insurance providers and thousands of physical education programs around the world. Today, Polar training computers are the number one choice among consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.polar.com.

About PRO
The Professional Referee Organization (PRO) is the organization responsible for managing the referee and assistant referee program in professional soccer leagues in the United States and Canada, working alongside the U.S. Soccer Federation, Major League Soccer, Canadian Soccer Association, the North American Soccer League, United Soccer League PRO, and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The organization’s targets are to increase the quality of officiating in U.S. and Canadian professional leagues, develop more professional-quality officials at a younger age, and produce officials who will represent the United States and Canada in FIFA competitions.

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