While the governing bodies for sports leagues like the NFL and the NCAA are being regularly criticized for dragging their feet on concussion safety, many of the actual teams are taking pro-active stances to ensure the health of their players.
One example of this can be found at Kansas University, where the football players will be using a new form of concussion monitoring through advanced mouthguards.
The mouthguards are equipped with technology designed to measure the impact on a player’s head during a collision and alerts coaches and trainers on the sidelines when a hit severe enough to potentially cause a brain injury occurs.
The system is similar to a few other concussion monitoring tools which have recently hit the market, such as caps meant to be worn inside the helmet. Some believe the mouthguards could be more accurate for identifying brain injuries than other tools, as they measure head movement more than direct collisions.
The mouthguards are also thought to be less cumbersome than the caps, as they do not feel any different from mouthguards already used in sports.
“It’s going to be a very huge undertaking, but for us the safety and health care of our student athletes is our number-one priority,” Kansas assistant athletics director Murphy Grant said. “If we can be a part of making the game safer – and keeping the game around – then we want to.”
For now tools like these are far from fool-proof. Still, they offer an extra line of defense in the health and safety of athletes at high risk of brain injury.