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Nebraska developing new concussion test for sideline use

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A significant amount of time and energy has been spent in the past couple of years when it comes to the issue of player safety, and specifically, head injuries.

The University of Nebraska has taken an important and interesting step forward on that subject. The university’s Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3) has been working on an electrode-covered mesh cap that would act as a functioning MRI on the sidelines. CB3 director Dennis Molfese says the mesh cap, which measures brain waves and can tell within minutes if a player is okay to return to the field or not, is still another one to two years away from use.

The device has gotten the attention of the NCAA as well.

“There are a lot of things that are very important with the NCAA as far as the health and safety of the student-athlete,” NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline said in an interview with the Associated Press, “and concussion is right up there as first and foremost. It’s the elephant on the table, and we, with everyone else, we have to solve it.”

Solutions have been hard to come by. Game rules have been changed to penalize targeting, but that only solves a part of the larger problem.

What Nebraska is doing is fantastic, but the university can’t be alone in taking the lead on these steps and a conference like the Pac-12 can’t be the only one limiting the amount of contact in practice. Concussions are a sports problem, not a Nebraska problem, so the responsibility for member-wide research and, most importantly, practical application falls under the NCAA’s umbrella.

College athletics’ governing body understands that and the NCAA Concussion Task Force was created for that very reason. The problem, as with most NCAA-related items, is the time it takes to accomplish, well, anything. Even getting third party physicians on the sideline could take a while. Still, all athletes have the right to access to the best doctors and equipment possible. They only get one brain, after all.

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12 Responses to “Nebraska developing new concussion test for sideline use”
  1. southernpatriots says: Jul 5, 2013 9:16 PM

    As an advocate for greater protection and safety through rules and equipment for years, this new portable MRI equipment for diagnosing head injuries is a welcome development.

    Kudos to Nebraska and all other research universities and private facilities which are working on this problem. The full effort by the NCAA, along with the NFL who has for too long now been silent and is facing numerous law suits and huge liability, should be brought to bear in financing and enabling this research to proceed successfully.

  2. spudvol says: Jul 5, 2013 10:29 PM

    At least we know that football coaches would never rig a sideline MRI test just to get a concussed player back on the field. Coaches aren’t that desperate for wins.

  3. barkleyblows says: Jul 5, 2013 11:07 PM

    You would never see this kind of progress from an SEC school.

    I’m not even sure they have classes at SEC schools.

  4. AP's Stomach Punch says: Jul 6, 2013 12:56 AM

    And yet they were removed from the AAU because the medical system doesn’t reside on campus (if memory serves)…

  5. bender4700 says: Jul 6, 2013 1:10 AM

    UNL (University of Nebraska at Lincoln) also developed the safer barrier walls that NASCAR uses. Probably saved a few lives with some of the recent front end into the wall accidents they’ve had recently.

  6. donovandancy says: Jul 6, 2013 2:11 AM

    is it one where they go “hey, do i have a concussion” and then a machine says “well, you do play a game where you get free tuition to get hit in the head alot, who cares”?

  7. dcroz says: Jul 6, 2013 9:04 AM


    What a sad, pointless existence you must lead. Any and every article becomes just another chance for you to demonstrate your chronic SEC envy to the world. Nevermind that the most famous orthopedic surgeon in the world and the innovator of numerous techniques that have saved the careers of countless athletes, Dr. James Andrews, is an LSU grad and practices in Birmingham. Nevermind that that little drink you pick up off the store shelf to rehydrate called Gatorade was invented at the University of Florida. Nevermind the research in nutrition and performance that have occurred at SEC schools. No, you’re too busy doing your version of “SEC dumb, we smart” to compensate for whatever shortcomings your team (and possibly you personally) have. In the land of the one-note, you are king.

    Barkleyblows, you suck.

  8. southernpatriots says: Jul 6, 2013 9:20 AM


    If there was a “mega thumbs up” I would give it to you. Great post. It is sad you had to post it, though. I have sent many patients to Dr. James Andrews and I always bring him some crawfish etouffee, or seafood gumbo when we go to B’ham.

    There is a young man at LSU Medical right now who reminds me of Dr. James. He has a similar dry wit and techniques that once he has more trials may lead to a week’s quicker healing.

  9. huskerguy says: Jul 6, 2013 9:36 AM

    Now if UNL could get the NCAA and NFL on board this could be a major thing for all levels!

  10. southernpatriots says: Jul 6, 2013 9:43 AM


    Absolutely. I know a now retired administrator at LSU who knew Emmert very well. I am going to have lunch with him this upcoming week and see if he is willing to put in a word for Nebraska’s research since the NCAA needs to be part of the solution.

    The NFL is more problematic. They are facing huge law suits on this at this time. But the case could be made to the NFL that supporting the research would probably hasten deployment and could save some players.

  11. thegamecocker says: Jul 6, 2013 10:00 AM


    Thank-you for a great post. Totally agree with Southern Patriots. The poster, barkleyblows, is merely jealous of all schools SEC. He should instead give credit where it is due.

  12. polegojim says: Jul 6, 2013 10:12 AM

    I agree – wonderful step forward.

    I also agree what the NFL is problematic. The testing should be done to help prevent further serious injury… but I also have a hard time with grown men who make deliberate career decisions and get paid extremely well to ‘voluntarily’ play a known violent and injury prone game… and then sue their former employer. It’s like suing Ducati for getting seriously injured in a motorcycle accident.

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