Routine injuries have been a health risk for athletes in high impact sports such as football and boxing. However, concerns for player safety also extend to all other contact sports, such as hockey, soccer and lacrosse. The biggest concern being blows to the players heads which are very common in the competitive world of sports.
New technology is now being introduced into the world of sports, in an effort to be more aware of these potentially harmful injuries. While this new gadget will not prevent injuries from occurring on the field, it will allow coaches and doctors to better monitor blows to the head, and possibly detect concussions.
The devices are packed with sensors and microprocessors which can be held tightly to the players heads with a beanie, headband or even by an adhesive patch and velcro. The devices, which are predicted to be available by this summer, will register blows to the athlete s skulls and signal the occurrence by blinking brightly or sending a wireless alert. The devices can therefore be monitored by coaches, bystanders and physicians and result in earlier diagnosis and treatment of concussions.
There are, however, some major concerns with the product, which is still in earlier stages of development. Some worry that the blinking will instigate strategic targeting of players that opponents want removed from the game. Others point out that there is no device that could truly monitor concussions because of the variables that go into diagnosing such an injury.
ACSH s Ariel Savransky adds, In a world where players are encouraged to play through pain, and competition is in the air, health doesn t always take priority. Unless an injury is visible, complete with blood or bruises, athletes may feel pressure to downplay their pain. Having a visible indicator of a hit to the head could do more than just alert coaches and doctors to possible concussions, it could encourage self care as well. While the details have not been completely ironed out, the technology certainly provides some hope for better health in the competitive world of sports.