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New Helmet Device May Cut Down on Concussions

A new product is the latest tool to  combat sports concussions. The Impact Indicator (by manufacturer Battle) is a chin strap that connects to a player’s helmet.  It measures the force and duration of a hit to the head: When first connected, the impact indicator LED light on the chin is green…but after a hard hit, the indicator turns red. This can be a signal of a potential head injury, so that coaches and players can act appropriately.

The device, which costs about $200, is endorsed by former hockey star Keith Primeau. It is currently being worn by more than a thousand youth football players in the United States, and it can also be used by hockey and lacrosse players.

Primeau, now age 39, played in the NHL for 16 years before his fourth documented concussion forced him to retire from the Philadelphia Flyers. He still feels crippling effects of his head injuries: headaches, head pressure, dizziness and fatigue.

According to an article in The Globe and Mail:

Primeau said the Impact Indicator doesn’t prevent concussions but indicates when someone should come out of a game. Information is a weapon in the fight against concussions, he said. People can have an objective measurement rather than just subjective judgment of coaches, teachers, administrators and even physicians on the sidelines.

Once the LED turns red, there is a 50% probability of a concussion. At that point, a player shouldn’t take anymore head hits. It takes the guesswork out the equation:  When the light turns red, the player should be removed from play and see a doctor.

Whether players, coaches, and team owners will ever fully adopt the new technology remains to be seen, but it seems like a no-brainer. We support measures that help preserve health and prevent brain injury. Paralympian Paul Rosen won a gold medal with Canada’s sledge hockey team. He believes that losing his leg in 1999 was easy compared with post-concussion symptoms. As he told TSN:

“Losing my leg was an absolute joke in the way I dealt with it compared to what I’m dealing with on a day to day basis,” said Rosen, who suffered a concussion after a sled hit him in the head. “Thing was, they told me to suck it up. We have to get out of this mentality, whether kids are 10 years old or playing professional hockey, is get out of that mentality of suck it up.

“One hit to the head is one hit too many.”

To read the full article in The Globe and Mail, click here:  New chin strap flashes red

To read the full article on TSN, click here:  Primeau believes helmet can cut down on concussions

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