When dozens of the nation’s best high school football players take the field Saturday afternoon for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl — on NBC, incidentally — some of them will do so with an additional piece of equipment that has the chance to revolutionize how in-game head injuries are diagnosed on the sidelines.
And, hopefully, save a little gray matter along the way.
Battle Sports Science has developed a device they call a concussion indicator. The device has been inserted into the chinstrap of several players participating in the all-star game, and is intended to measure the g-force of a collision, using a series of LEDs to alert sideline personnel to potential head injuries.
Inside the chinstrap is software that measures the force and duration of a hit. Outside the strap is a light indicator. Green means you’re fine. A yellow blinking light means there’s a 51-percent chance you have a concussion. A blue light means there’s a 70-percent chance, and red means 90-percent chance. “At any point when that light changes they need to pull the kid off the field and do a quick evaluation and if everything’s fine, great,” said Chris Circo, CEO of Battle Sports Science, the company that developed the concussion indicator. “We’re not detecting anything other than, you’ve been hit at a certain G-force for a certain duration. Somebody needs to take a look at you,” said Circo.
While the current devices are merely prototypes and thus bulkier than what the final product will be, at least one of the players who has been using it during practice in the run-up to the game had no issue with the additional equipment. Said Los Angeles high school RB/DB De’Anthony Thomas, “At first I thought it was going to be uncomfortable because it’s bulky a little bit, but it’s, it’s great.”
Certainly there are some out there who are leery of rules changes aimed at protecting players leading to the “wussification” of the sport. However, it’s a no-brainer (no pun intended) to take a look at any and all technological advancements in the equipment arena to make the sport as safe as possible without drastically altering the fiber of what makes the game so great.
As the parent of a 13-year-old participating in youth football, it’s good to hear the technological side of the concussion issue is being addressed in such a meaningful manner. Hopefully, that tack will continue in earnest. By all parties involved.