Super Bowl week brings news of inventions for concussions

If it's Super Bowl week, then it's time for announcements about inventions involving head injuries:

* A study using ShockBox helmet sensors was released that said 8-year-olds playing football receive similar head impacts that occur with 18-year-olds.

The study conducted last summer followed 3 football teams in games and practices by using Shockbox helmet sensors to track hits to the head. It was found that 13 year old players had an average head impact in games of 53.8 g compared to 53.5 g for the faster, heavier and older 18 year old players. The younger players averaged 3.5 head impacts per game compared to 4.2 for 18 year olds. 11 year old players only had 1.35 hits per game and an average magnitude of 47.5 g.

The data provided some surprises to NCAFA President, Stephen Dean who sponsored the study last football season. "I did not foresee the impact similarities between the 13-14 year old players and 17-18 year olds." said Dean who has been the Association President since 2006. "The helmet sensors helped us to see what tackle programs are working well and enables us to monitor potential concussion exposure in our kids as we teach safe tackle techniques."

"Using helmet sensors to monitor teams proved to be simple, however we did not expect to see the younger players suffer such a high amount of head impact exposure or Hit Count" said Danny Crossman, CEO and Chief Technology Officer for Impakt Protective who ran the study using their Shockbox helmet sensor technology. "Using helmet sensors enabled teams to monitor their players' Hit Count and to see which tackle drills we better than others." Crossman is a founding sponsor of the Hit Count initiative created by Boston based Sports Legacy Institute and put his experience in developing helmet sensors for the US Marines and Army to use for the sports world.

* Digital Journal published a press release from XLNTbrain Sport, which is being touted during the #C4CT Concussion Summit on Monday in New York for "providing the first complete concussion management program without the cost of having a neurologist on payroll."

A new program, XLNTbrain Sportâ„¢ is being introduced during the #C4CT Concussion Summit, Jan. 29, at the United Nations in New York, providing the first complete concussion management program without the cost of having a neurologist on payroll.

Based on 25 years treating hundreds of concussions and a career studying the effects of concussions on cognitive brain functions, Harry Kerasidis, M.D., known as "The Brain Doctor," compiled his learning into XLNTbrain, providing sports teams a clinical-caliber program at an affordable price.

"Concussions don't have to kill contact sports," said Dr. Kerasidis, who is among an elite few neurologists in the world specializing in the impairment of cognitive and emotional performance resulting from concussions. "Through XLNTbrain Sportâ„¢, teams will have all the tools necessary integrated into one convenient platform delivered online and through a newly created mobile app."

XLNTbrain Sport has had more than 5,000 athletes and athletic trainers beta-test the protocol in Maryland, including youth football leagues, high schools and St. Mary's College of Maryland.

* Brain Sentry announced the development of a Hit Counter sensor system for helmets that could be used for football and lacrosse.

The Brain Sentry Hit Counter, a one-ounce sensor that easily affixes to the back of a football, hockey or lacrosse helmet, is being introduced for use by youth sports associations, leagues, teams and individual players beginning in Fall 2014, it was announced today by Greg Merril, co-founder and CEO, Brain Sentry.

The Brain Sentry Hit Counter provides an opportunity to monitor and limit exposure to head impacts. The first practical, affordable sensor technology available to monitor the number of head impacts; the sensor holds the promise of potentially preventing chronic traumatic brain abnormalities from developing.

Over ten years of published research with instrumented helmets, looking at over two million impacts, has helped establish that the average-sized hit in football is between 20g to 30g. The Brain Sentry Hit Counter counts these average-size and bigger hits.

"It has an integrated LCD character display for two numbers: the total hits for the past seven days and the total hits for the year," said Merril. "Coaches, athletic trainers and parents can use this data to identify players who should take a time-out."

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor