Technology used to detect concussions



The NFL has a concussion and head injury issue. Many former players are suing them for not dealing with the risks and treatments when they were players.

What is the issue

It comes down to three things:

Prevention – Did the NFL do as much as they could to prevent concussions?

Treatment – Did the NFL standardize a treatment protocol?

Communication – Did the NFL know what was happening and communicate to the players?

How can technology prevent concussions

The US Army has been using an electronic sensor mounted in helmets for 5 years or so. Called the Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic Systems it determines the force of an impact and wirelessly transmits a warning. Newer models allow for data to be gathered over time and downloaded so medical professionals can determine issues.

The idea behind this is an impacting event can immediately signal the likelihood of an issue, while the data collected over time can help determine a baseline for preventing further injuries. For instance, a player can take a certain amount of hits before they hit a limit and need to be taken off the field.

Lt. Col. Frank Lozano said of the system:

Our system has an antenna that allows the helmet sensor to contact a field service representative and say, ‘I’ve been in a traumatic event’. It will alert them to contact the unit and say, ‘One of your sensors went off. I need the sensor, and we need to examine the soldier’.

The NFL wants to take a very proactive stance on concussions given the continuing legal issues.

Here is a great video giving an overview of the system:

And what the deployed system looks like:

Technology used to detect concussions photo