Advanced Football Helmets Could Prevent Injuries in the Future
As football season begins for many high schools across the country, new safety developments for football helmets are being tested. By measuring the strength of impact that players receive during games, the new technology can help coaches and trainers determine whether players could have a concussion.
Keeping Players in Check
New helmets are being designed with sensors at specific points within to measure the level of impact experienced when hit. While these new helmets won't directly prevent concussions, they can help coaches figure out if players are using the wrong technique or determine which players may need immediate medical attention.
These helmet are called Riddell Speed Flex Insight Helmets, and they include five sensors: one on the crown, one in the front, and two on either side, along with one more on the back. All five sensors can effectively detect hit patterns to the head. Designed to monitor hits, the helmets do not serve as diagnostics tools for head injuries.
With more control over monitoring players, coaches can more easily prevent head injuries that may otherwise occur without their knowledge. Trainers can see data that shows severe hits, and subsequently initiate protocols to treat players.
Preventing Concussions and CTE
The NFL has recently faced controversy as awareness around chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has increased over the years. Many retired professional football players have displayed symptoms of this degenerative brain disease, but unfortunately it can only be diagnosed after the victim's death.
The New York Times recently released a report that listed over 100 deceased NFL players who had developed CTE as a result of repeated head trauma. Concussions have become one of the biggest deterrents for starting a career in football, and the NFL has failed to implement sufficient safety measures to prevent them.
While there currently isn't a helmet or other football equipment available to keep players completely safe from injury during games, the new Riddell Speed Flex Insight Helmet is a step in the right direction, helping coaches monitor players to further avoid injury.
These sensors may also pave the way for future developments, as they allow individuals to see which areas of the head are most at risk of injury during practice and games. This could influence the future design of football helmets that may more effectively protect players. Until then, these sensor helmets will encourage safer coaching to indirectly reduce the number of injuries that players experience.