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University of Washington to try patch with concussion sensor


Friday's health and safety news from the world of sports:

* The Seattle Times reported that the University of Washington football team will wear a patch from X2 Biosystems, which is known as a developer of end-to-end management of brain injury technology.

The sensor patch, stuck behind the right ear of each UW player at a recent practice, tests the severity of hits to the head, sending a wireless sign to trainers and coaches on the sideline.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian said the patch can’t immediately detect a concussion, but it does help give teams an improved idea of a player’s history of head injuries.

"Safety’s first," Sarkisian said. "And in this day and age, with head injuries and concussions in football -- and in all sports, for that matter -- we’re just trying to remain on the cutting edge."

The Huskies are apparently one of a handful of college programs using the technology; Stanford and Michigan are others. NFL teams use X2’s concussion-management software -- but not the patch -- and UCLA coach Jim Mora, a former Husky, is reportedly an investor in the company.

* The Columbus Dispatch looked at the NCAA's lack of uniformity concerning concussions and full-contact practices. The report recalls Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive's push last spring for the NCAA to get more involved.

In college football, little has been done on a national scale. The sole national, uniform policy on diagnosing and treating concussions comes from a five-page memorandum put forth in 2010 by the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports. The memo, which largely consists of guidelines, mandates three things: Schools must have a concussion management plan on file; players who show signs of a concussion must leave the game; and student-athletes must sign a statement saying they will report a concussion should they suffer one.

Concerned, Slive wrote NCAA President Mark Emmert on behalf of the SEC to express the need for the organization to spearhead such a national effort.

"We all share the concern about the overall health of college football and its participants across the entire country and within each NCAA division," Slive said at SEC media days in July. "With this in mind, it is incumbent that the NCAA provide the leadership."

Slive's suggestion is grounded, since the NCAA was formed on the foundation of protecting college players across the country from serious and potentially deadly injuries.

* As part of CBS Sports' college football preview, columnist Dennis Dodd highlighted the wide range of views by college football officials on concussions.

* The Associated Press wrote about the concussion hub that is set to open at the University of Nebraska's new stadium addition.

* The Peoria Journal Star looked at the lack of concussion care at Illinois high school football games.

* The Chicago Bears are preparing to host USA Football's latest stop in its Protection Tour, the team's official website reported.

* The Oakland Raiders are hosting a USA Football Month celebration Friday, the team's official website reported.

* The Indianapolis Star wrote about the state of Indiana's involvement with the Heads Up Football program.

* The Athens (Ga.) Patch website looked at how Cedar Shoals High School is taking part in the Heads Up Football program.

* The Baltimore Sun reported that Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor is being evaluated for a concussion.

* Minnesota Twins backup catcher Ryan Doumit is testing new equipment after returning from a concussion, The Star Tribune reported.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor



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