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Impact Sensors Slated for NFL Helmets Next Season

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by DenverBolt67, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    Impact Sensors Slated for NFL Helmets Next Season | Playbook

    After months of rumblings, the NFL appears close to instituting a system where parts of players’ uniforms, including their helmets, will be embedded with impact-sensing accelerometers to help analyze the real-time effects of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries.

    Word started to spread in October that the league had begun investigating the feasibility of instituting such a system for next season. Since then, the NFL has also held its long-awaited committee meetings on player safety in New York, where much of the discussion focused on ways to prevent concussions while also warning players about the inherent risks of playing the sport.

    Now, according to The Washington Post, the league is on the verge of pilot-testing the installation of three types of accelerometers — in mouthpieces, earpieces, and helmets — to see if accurate neuroanalysis can occur during games. This could possibly allow coaching staffs to isolate and diagnosis the severity of concussions within minutes. Long-term, the test could gather unprecedented data on how players become injured and what happens to them in the ensuing weeks.

    What can happen in the ensuing seconds is often painfully obvious, as in this video from Week 1 of the 2010 NFL season:

    It’s an intriguing move that certainly would have wide-ranging implications, if the data-collection methods can be developed in an efficient and practical way, so that coaching staffs and players get useful, game-relevant information when they need it.

    The fight has been on for years to create a better (read: safer) football helmet, with companies looking at all sorts of radical designs and materials. For example, the Bulwark, designed by Michael Princip, uses a layer of molded foam that helps absorb shocks when a player takes a blow to the head.

    These kind of projects, often small-scale and self-funded, will become more critical over the next few months and years as the sport slowly comes to grips with the fact the concussions are likely impossible to avoid in football. Instead, it’s the right move to focus on how they happen and how to lessen their injurious effects.

    With the proper technicians and funding, these impact sensors should be the best first step down that road.
     

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