Navigation Links
High school footballers wearing special helmets to monitor brain injuries
Date:9/27/2007

As they root for the home team from the bleachers this fall, high school gridiron fans in the small Illinois town of Tolono dont necessarily see anything out of the ordinary down on the field.

But just out of sight, tucked inside many of the maroon helmets worn by the Unity High School Rockets, a revolution of sorts is taking place. This season, 32 varsity team members are sporting helmets outfitted with the same electronic encoder modules now used by a handful of college teams.

The purpose of the high-tech headgear, which uses six strategically placed, spring-loaded accelerometers to wirelessly beam information to a Web-based system on a laptop computer on the sidelines, is to more effectively and more immediately detect when blows to players heads may result in concussions or more severe brain injuries.

In addition, impact data including location of hits, magnitude of force and length of hits is recorded for analysis by a University of Illinois research team led by kinesiology and community health professor Steven Broglio.

Unity is the only high school in the country using the Head Impact Telemetry System, or HITS, Broglio said. There are 12 million high school football players across the nation, he said. This is a huge population we dont know much about.

The system being used in the research partnership between the U. of I. and Unity was developed by Simbex, a research and product-development company based in New Hampshire. It works in tandem with helmets made by Riddell, the nations largest helmet manufacturer, and was first tested on the Virginia Tech football team in 2002.

Broglio said a number of other researchers at universities across the nation, including Virginia Tech, the University of North Carolina and Dartmouth, also are using the system as the basis for studies of biomechanical processes caused by concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

At Unity, each varsity player was given a baseline assessment for neurocognitive function prior to the start of the season.

The baseline assessments are all over the map, Broglio said. Because the kids brains are still developing, they have different ranges and abilities.

On the field during practice or on game day, when the encoder in an athletes helmet registers a hit, the system beams impact information to the sidelines laptop, which is monitored by the teams athletic trainer.

If an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, he will not return to play until neurocognitive function returns to baseline performance, Broglio said.

The fact that high school athletes brains may not yet be as fully developed as their college or professional counterparts is a large part of Broglios motivation for studying the systems effectiveness on the younger players.

The U. of I. researcher noted in many high schools across the country its not unusual for players to take a forceful hit, sit out briefly, then return to play. And sometimes theyll even mask symptoms from coaches and trainers because they dont want to miss the action.

Unfortunately, Broglio said, what other researchers are finding is that people with multiple concussions have incurred Alzheimers Disease at a higher rate. Getting their bell rung as high school athletes may have permanent repercussions. There seems to be a link.

He noted that theres also some evidence in the literature that among high school athletes, the force of an impact may actually be less than it is with older players.

The main focus of Broglios continuing research is to sort it all out to determine how the younger players actually function on the field, and gather data that will ultimately protect and treat athletes who suffer concussive head injuries.

We will look at how hard and where they get hit, he said, adding that one possible outcome of the work may be determining the need to develop a different type of helmet for high school athletes.

We may find theyre getting hit in different places and need more padding in those areas of the helmet, for example.

In Tolono, the systems ability to monitor where athletes are incurring hits has already led to another discovery, just a couple of weeks into the season.

The system picked up one athlete who was hitting with the top of his head, a practice that could result in spinal-cord injury, Broglio said. Because they were able to identify the pattern, the teams coaches were able to work with the athlete to correct the habit.

As weve gone through this first few weeks using the system, for the most part its been very good, said Scott Hamilton, the Rockets head coach. As this revolutionizing (of the sport) gets better and better, it will be great. Anything to protect our kids is a wonderful concept.

As is often the case with most innovative technologies when theyre first developed, however, the initial cost of the system is likely to prohibit widespread use especially at the high school level. Broglio said the system being tested at Unity has a price tag of about $60,000; each helmet costs an additional $1,000.

Nonetheless, he and Hamilton remain hopeful that as more companies compete and additional systems enter the marketplace, the cost eventually will become more affordable for more schools.

Anytime you talk about money, its a fine line between how much money do you spend, and how much is it worth to protect the kids.


'/>"/>

Contact: Melissa Mitchell
melissa@uiuc.edu
217-333-5491
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. School Children Put To Risk Due To Shortage Of Nurses
2. Schools and Bars closed in Rwanda due to Cholera outbreak
3. Does Success in School Differ From the Real World Success ?
4. Preschoolers eat more when served in bigger helpings
5. Watching TV in the bedroom can lower children’s school performanc
6. Exposure to Pesticides in Schools Produces Illnesses Among Employees, Students
7. Adolescents Who Walk To School Are Fitter, More Active
8. Safe Neighborhood Means Less TV For Preschool Children
9. Popularity Among Peers Increases Susceptibility To Smoking Habit Among School Children
10. Vitamin filled nutrition candy for School children
11. Fish Oil supplementation reduces physical aggression in school children’
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will present the 2017 Morris ... of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual Symposium is taking ... in the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is presented to an individual ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Dr. Parsa Mohebi, the Los Angeles ... to the newly revamped Cosmetic Town journal section, featuring articles written ... known as Follicular Unit Extraction (FUE). , Dr. Mohebi says “I ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... On Saturday, ... a treadmill relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the American Heart ... or more. , Teams will work together to keep their treadmills moving for ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 2017 , ... In the United States, single-family home owners ... New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Connecticut, and California—the average is $7,000 ... property-tax rates, which contributes to the relatively lower cost of living in places ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... in life sciences content management, presents its enhanced Pepper Flow promotional review ... 16 -18, 2017. Pepper Flow’s increased insight-driven capabilities help marketers streamline the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... -- West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE: WST), ... administration, today announced that it will release third-quarter 2017 ... 26, 2017, and will follow with a conference call ... a.m. Eastern Time. To participate on the call, please ... is 94093362. A ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), today ... Las Piedras, Puerto Rico , where ... Following a comprehensive ... minor structural damage, temporary loss of power and minimal ... completed, manufacturing operations have resumed, and the company expects ...
(Date:10/5/2017)...  In response to the nationwide opioid epidemic, ... (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations that urge ibuprofen – ... a first-line therapy to manage a patient,s acute ... Recognizing the value and importance of the ... Acute and Postoperative Pain Management" stresses that practitioners ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: