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NFL expert frustrated helmet technology not in use

There's a helmet technology in place -- and there has been for some time -- that allows teams to assess the force and impact of a blow to a player's head in real time.

Created by University of North Carolina professor Kevin Guskiewicz and used by the school's football team, the Helmet Impact Telemetry (HIT) system would appear to be the type of advancement the concussion-conscious NFL would fall over itself to implement.

And yet the system has yet to be adopted by a league that calls Guskiewicz its expert in the field. Eight NFL teams reportedly planned to use the HIT system in 2010 before it fell through at the last moment. Two years later, the technology remains unused.

"I've been comfortable with the questions that we've asked and the validation studies that have been done to this point, and I feel as though we probably could have had this system in place a year or so ago," Guskiewicz said on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" (via PFT). "It absolutely can work in the NFL. I've been doing it for eight years, so I know it can be done."

According to Bob Holtzman of ESPN, the league isn't ready to say when or if the technology would be used, and it referred Holtzman to Guskiewicz on the matter.

The pushback isn't just coming from the league. ESPN cited an unnamed source in reporting the NFL Players Association blocked the use of the HIT system.

"You're gonna open up a whole Pandora's Box with it," former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Hines Ward told ESPN, surely tapping into one reason why the NFLPA isn't on board. "For a doctor to read a computer and tell me how hard I've been hit and to pull me out of a game, that won't sit well with a lot of players."

Guskiewicz said the HIT system is actually used as a recruiting tool at UNC.

"If we're sitting here in a year from now and we're not any closer to have on-field, real-time biomechanics being measured," he said, "I'll be real frustrated, and perhaps ready to throw the towel in."

As the league's expert, Guskiewicz's frustration is understandable. He has a proven system on the ready, something that can make the game safer. At a time when hundreds upon hundreds of former players are suing the NFL over concussions, it's surprising this technology sits on the shelf collecting dust.

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