RECENT ARTICLES
  • Four Reasons to Add Impact Sensors Into Concussion Management

    by Harry Kerasidis, MD November 2014

    Every hit counts. Every hit to the head can be one step closer to a breakdown in the brain. But for many in today’s sports world, we wait until the damage is already done, intervening with a concussion protocol only after the athlete shows obvious concussion symptoms.

    Every team should have a concussion management protocol in place addressing compliant education, baseline testing, sideline assessment tools, symptom tracking and return-to-play guidance. This should be a standard in sports. But, I believe an even higher standard is coming. Every contact sports team should embrace new technology that tracks the force and frequency of head hits using impact sensors.

    Here are four ways impact sensors, using accelerometer technology, can complement a concussion management protocol:

    RELATED: No Green Light for Helmet Sensors at Virginia High Schools

    1. Measuring the Impacts
    Using impact sensors allows you to measure the collision and rotational forces that may be sufficient to cause concussion injury. Although there is variability among athletes and their vulnerability to concussion injury, the ability to gauge the impact can alert responsible sideline personnel when a player may have sustained a serious hit to the head, and may need attention.

    Further research is necessary to identify the threshold level of force to be concerned about, whether it’s 50G, 80G, 100G and considering the athlete’s age.

    Integrating impact sensors into your concussion management protocol gives you a green light to pull a player who sustains a hit above your established threshold for sideline assessment. If the athlete passes under medical supervision, then they may return to practice or gameplay under a watchful eye, since signs of concussion may be delayed. If signs of concussion are present, the player is removed and appropriate management protocol should be applied.

    2. Counting Collisions
    From a neurological perspective, it’s the sub-concussive hits that scare me. We don’t see them. Players don’t know them. Coaches coach despite them. There is mounting evidence that sub-concussive hits may cumulatively contribute to brain injury, and decreased performance on neuropsychological tests. Furthermore, increasing numbers of cases of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) are being reported in athletes playing contact sports, who never had a “documented” concussion.

    RELATED: Football Player’s Who Died at 25 Had Severe CTE

    There is now a growing acceptance of the concept of the Hit Count®, a term coined by Sports Legacy Institute (SLI). By counting and measuring the velocity of hits sustained to the head, we gain valuable data that can lead to preventing concussions and further brain damage.

    Think of tracking hits and measuring impact velocity like baseball pitchers count their pitches. The more pitches, the greater risk of loss of control and potential injury. Likewise, the more head hits an athlete sustains, the greater the risk of short- and long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma. Like the pitch count, impact sensors can identify how often athletes sustain possible sub-concussive hits.

    I suggest impact sensors count the number of hits an athlete sustains during a day, week, month or season, so athletic trainers can better identify those at higher risk of concussion injury. Each team can establish a threshold before implementing their concussion protocol, and repeating baseline testing to determine if there is impairment over baseline. If so, it would send the athlete to relative rest and into the recovery progressive exertion process, with daily symptom tracking.

    3. Protecting the Return-To-Play Process
    Impact sensors can be leveraged to protect the athlete during the recovery phase.

    One of the key principles of concussion management is to protect the brain from further injury during recovery from concussion injury. At the same time, rehabilitation efforts call for increasing activity and progressive exertion as long as the symptoms of concussion are not provoked. Impact sensors can monitor the recovering athlete during the progressive exertion phase of recovery, to ensure that the level of contact during practice does not exceed normal expected forces.

    4. Training Proper Technique
    Force monitoring has an added benefit for training safe and proper playing technique. If a particular player is showing an unusually high hit count or maximum force hits to the head, special attention to training of that athlete may be indicated to protect against further injury.

    Merging hit count and collision force data improves the ability of detecting concussion risk, while gathering data to further research the correlations between traumatic forces to the head and clinical consequences, including duration and intensity of symptoms, impairment of cognitive performance and effects on balance.

    In my own neurology practice, I’ve treated hundreds of concussed patients. I would highly recommend investigating the merits of a concussion-management system that integrates impact sensors, or at the very least, embracing the idea that every hit counts.

    RELATED: Tracking Technology Revolutionizes Athlete Training


    Cognitive neurologist and author Harry Kerasidis, M.D. co-founded XLNTbrain, Inc., owns Chesapeake Neurology Associates in Maryland and at Calvert Memorial Hospital, he serves as the Medical Director for the Center for Neuroscience, Sleep Disorders Center and Stroke Center. He writes for Psychology Today and his new book, “Concussionology: Redefining Sports Concussion Management” is due in early 2015.

  • NFLPA Program Helps Players Return to Health

    by Tom Pelissero, @TomPelissero, USA TODAY Sports November 2014

    The Trust launched last November as the NFL Players Association's portal to provide its alumni with new opportunities to address their health, as well as further their educations and careers.

  • U. of Tennessee Football Player 'Blacked Out,' Returned

    by Dustin Dopirak dustin.dopirak@knoxnews.com November 2014

    Tennessee sophomore cornerback Cameron Sutton came off the field and had to sit out a series during the Vols’ 29-21 loss to Missouri on Saturday at Neyland Stadium. Sutton made a somewhat startling revelation as to why during Monday’s media availability.

  • Panel-Led Concussion Q&A Precedes NBA D League Game

    by Glenn Jordan November 2014

    Talk about your baseline testing. The five-year-old Maine Concussion Management Initiative held a symposium of sorts in Section 6 behind the north basket stanchion Sunday afternoon prior to the NBA Development League game between the Red Claws and the Delaware 87ers.

  • Lightning Taking Extra Steps to Avoid NHL Mumps Scare

    by The Tampa Tribune (Florida) November 2014

    The Minnesota Wild came to town for the weekend and the Lightning made sure to clear out the visiting locker room. Not that the training staff doesn't do that for each team that comes through Amalie Arena during the season. But this time around, they wanted to be as thorough as possible. That's because the Wild are one of three NHL teams this season to have at least one player diagnosed with a case of the mumps. Defensemen Jonas Brodin and Marco Scandella missed games due to complications of the viral disease, while teammates Keith Ballard and Christian Folin also were sidelined this season with similar symptoms.

  • Rec Center's New Dress Code to Help Combat MRSA

    by Andrew Brandt November 2014

    Beginning in early January, those who occupy certain sections of Southern Illinois University's recreation center will be forced to wear sleeves.

  • No Green Light for Helmet Sensors at Va. High Schools

    by Andrew Brandt November 2014

    Last March, Bethesda, Md., company Brain Sentry offered to supply every high school football and lacrosse player in Loudon County, Va. with helmet impact sensors that light up when they're hit with a force of 80G or higher.

  • Robot to Help Diagnose Concussions at Dartmouth

    by Andrew Brandt November 2014

    With studies conflicting as to whether or not concussion risk is related to the helmet you wear, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons recently suggesting that more than one third of all college football players have suffered a concussion, having the ability to quickly recognize a concussion is more important than ever.

  • Education, Attention Fuel Greater Concussion Awareness

    by By Myles Harris November 2014

    Concussions have always been part of sports, but awareness and diagnosis are on the rise.

  • Redskins Buses Involved in Accident En Route to Game

    by Zac Boyer, The Washington Times November 2014

    According to accounts from several team staffers, the police car escorting the two buses to the stadium failed to make a proper exit off Interstate 94 onto Huron Boulevard SE, seemingly missing the turn.