New technology to assess concussions on display in Indianapolis

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Indianapolis, IND. (Jan. 13, 2014)-

Thousands of football coaches from around the country are in Indianapolis this week for the American Football Coaches Association Convention. It’s a chance to learn new practices, get resources and address the safety of their sport.

One of the resources they’ll see is called Brain Sentry, a sensor that goes on the back of a helmet to detect hard hits and head movement during a football game or practice.

The sensor can attach to any helmet and is calibrated to light up when the player experiences something that could cause a concussion.
“When the player’s head accelerates with 80  “G”s or more, then the light goes off and then you know that that player needs to come out and be evaluated,” said Neal Lieberman with Brain Sentry.

“We know that kids don’t tell us when they have symptoms of concussions, sometimes it’s their egos, they want to play, so it’s really important to us to figure out which kids have taken the really big hits so we can figure out which kids need to be assessed,” said Greg Merril, CEO of Brain Sentry.

Sensor technology has been around for about ten years, but recent developments have made it more affordable and the sensors easier to activate and read. The military started using the technology several years ago to monitor soldiers in the field.

Brain Sentry sensors are used in youth football leagues and high school teams around the country. Louisiana State University players wore the devices during practice this past season, Merril said. The company also developed sensors for lacrosse and hockey helmets.

“It’s pretty clear that whats gong to happen in the next few years is sensors like these are going to become mandatory, which makes sense because this is an objective way of figuring out which players need to be assessed for a concussion,” he said.

According to the CDC, each year, U.S. emergency departments treat nearly 173,300 sports-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children and adolescents.