Tragic headlines on Junior Seau at president obamarecent statements, the last season of football has left many of us wondering about the safety of the game. While no football equipment can completely protect players from a concussion, new technologies are offering players players more options than helmets, shoulder pads and crampons. (See also (Four Simple Tips for Understanding and Preventing Concussions.)
The following two innovative products are designed to reduce the risk of head injuries by measuring impacts more reliably and cushioning blows to reduce their potential for injury, providing athletes with safer opportunities to succeed on the court.
Each year in the United States, more than 3.8 million sports-related brain injuries are reported. However, many cases go undiagnosed by coaches because athletes do not show symptoms of head trauma.
The gForce Tracker is a small, durable device that fits easily into any helmet. Once integrated, a real-time tracking account instantly informs coaches of the severity of a blow when an impact occurs. This information provides physicians and coaches with the reliable data they need to measure and detect injuries; allows them to analyze the cumulative effect of multiple impacts; and allows them to monitor a player’s symptoms in relation to their brain activity. The device has a built-in alarm when an impact exceeds a certain threshold, so the player can instantly receive the care they need.
The Guardian Cap is a soft shell, waterproof football helmet cover that can potentially reduce the impact force experienced by athletes by up to 33%. Weighing only a third of a pound, its soft urethane material is designed to reduce friction when helmets collide, allowing helmets to slide over each other rather than sticking, reducing the severity of impacts. During the 2011 season, 600 Guardian Caps were distributed for a field trial. During these tests, no cases of head or neck injury were reported among users. These promising results have prompted countless schools across the country to start using Guardian Caps in their football programs.
Used only during training (where 90 percent of concussions occur), it should provide some comfort to parents when they see their child being tackled by a child twice his size. Professional athletes who support the Guardian Cap include two-time Super Bowl champion Rodney Harrison, Fred McCray, Kelvin Garmon, Scott Lockwood and Mark Kelso. All said they would not let their sons play football unless they wear the goalkeeper cap during practice.