Can New Technology Detect And Prevent Concussions?

As concern over sports-induced concussions continues to build, there’s an increasing demand for new technologies that can prevent or reduce head injuries. This fall, the NFL offered $10 million for innovations leading to a safer helmet. But as it turns out, a company based in Lowell says they’ve already made one. From the outside, a Xenith football helmet looks like any other helmet on the market. But the technology inside sets Xenith apart. “A lot of the foam products that are out there, they’re very stiff, they’re very rigid,” Xenith president Chuck Huggins says. “They don’t disperse energy as well as our air cell.”

 

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Riddell’s newest helmet, set to debut on college fields this fall, is called SpeedFlex. This past spring about 30 teams across the country have been trying it out. The reaction, according to Riddell, has been positive, which is encouraging as their primary focus has been creating a helmet that minimizes the risk of concussions.

“It’s been an area of focus for Riddell certainly for more than a decade,” said Thad Ide, Riddle’s senior vice president for research and development. “Ever since we introduced the Revolution helmet in 2002, that helmet was designed based on specific biomechanical research into the on-field impacts that led to concussions in players. Since that time, we’ve been conducting research and mining data and looking for ways that we can improve our helmets. Certainly, there’s been an increased focus in the public awareness of concussions in very recent years, too. That sort of focus has only highlighted the improvements that we’ve made.” Read More…

NFL Must Take Concussions Seriously

A newly released NFL study counted 900 concussions in the league between 1996 and 2001. Concussions were a subject league officials, coaches and trainers long avoided discussing. Players, perhaps because there was no physical evidence of an injury, like a broken bone, often did not take concussions seriously. But officials became concerned with the forced retirement in 1992 of Jets star wide receiver Al Toon, as the NFL faced an epidemic of concussions. That concern was reinforced when marquee players like Troy Aikmen and Steve Young also retired after multiple concussions.  Read More…