Oct 19, 2013 12:30 AM by Greg Smith
Head injuries in the NFL have taken center stage recently, especially since the recent lawsuit from former players. It maybe even more of a problem on the high school level, where 90 percent of concussions sustained in prep sports go unreported.
Concussions in football are threatening America's most popular sport. According to studies, the piece of equipment responsible for the most concussions,the helmet, is the piece that's supposed to protect from them. Dr. Brad Gulla, a functional neurologist and owner of "The Concussion Place," the only concussion specific practice in Colorado Springs, says head gear is at the top of of his list of concerns.
"Football helmets don't prevent concussions, they prevent skull fractures," says Gulla. "It can bring on a false sense of security. 'I've got a football helmet on, which means I can lower my head and ram into anything I want to, and there's no consequence.' And that's simply not true."
Troy Fodemski, owner and founder of Concussion Mitigation Technology in Colorado Springs, says his company is doing more than anyone else to invent new, and safer helmet technology.
"Why couldn't we put more sophisticated technology in helmets? We have it in our iPads, we have it in our cell phones," says Fodemski. "Breakthrough technology, out-of-the-box thinking is needed, it's long overdue. That started me on a path of a design that led to a patent on a more advanced helmet."
Concussion mitigation has developed, and produced, a prototype football helmet containing padding that acts like an air bag that deploys when force reaches dangerous levels for the brain. It contains sensors, computer processors, and wiring, all miniaturized to fit inside an exsisting helmet.
"The computer and memory would all be one cartridge easy to remove and replace from the back of the helmet," says Fodemski. "The end result would be fit and feel like any other helmet to the user."
The implications could reach further than just the football field. Any sport with head gear could use it, and concussion mitigation has been in talks with the Air Force Academy about combat testing for U.S. Soldiers.
"It has to happen. How it is now is just not acceptable," says April Harbican, business manager at Concussion Mitigation Technology. "For people to be getting concussions doing things they love, people should be able to do that without having to worry about that kind of thing."
"I've got two babies, and by the time they get to the age of football, we're going to see such massive regulation coming down on high school football, it'll probably be a different game. It may be safe to play at that point."
Football may never be totally safe, but it's close to being safer than ever.
Concussion Mitigation Technology does still need funding to get the prototype ready for testing. For more information, go to their website CMTechnologies.org
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