Helmet Device Could Help Detect Concussions

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Violent collisions have been a part of football since the game's invention, but this season has been especially brutal when it comes to helmet-to-helmet hits.

The American Academy of Neurology reports about 100,000 concussions happen on the football field each year.

The NFL now suspends players for dangerous tackles and flagrant fouls involving helmet-to-helmet hits. But the impact these hits can have on players is still a concern.

In response, the company Battle Sports Science has developed a new chin strap that will hopefully help in detecting serious blows to the head.

"It's the closest to center of gravity, which is where you really need to be to accurately measure g-force and duration," CEO Cris Serko explained.

"We really feel it is a revolutionary product," he continued. "We want to make sure that all athletes are protected."

How It Works

A green light in the chin strap stays on when the device is working. If the light changes color after a hit, that signals the player may have suffered a concussion.

There are three colors to indicate the probability of a concussion after a hit.

  • Yellow means a 50 percent chance of concussion,
  • Blue means a 70 percent chance,
  • Red means a 90 percent chance.

"We help them identify that there has been a hit where someone needs to be taken off the field and evaluated, and to determine whether or not they are ready to play," Serko explained.

Researchers have been developing the device over the last two years. Field testing is underway on high school students participating in the U.S. Army All-Star American Bowl.

"It felt real comfortable, and it was a great experience to wear it," high school player Thomas West said. "I believe it's going to be successful."

Battle Sports Science hopes to have the chin strap on helmets across the country for the 2011-2012 football season.

--Originally published Jan. 7, 2011.

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