For years, the protocol for treating possible concussions on a football field has been this: After a player takes a hard hit to the head, a coach or trainer examines him to assess the severity of the impact and his readiness to return to the field.
But a visual inspection only reveals so much. What if there were data that could help detect concussions in real time?
Now there are. A wave of new technology, embedded in football helmets, aims to measure the force of on-field collisions and send alerts when a player’s health may be in danger.
“We want to protect players as best we can,” said Thad Ide, head of product development and management at Riddell, the United States’ leading maker of football helmets, which has embraced these new head-impact systems.
“It’s a way of keeping your players healthy. You can keep your star player healthy, and keep your star player playing more,” he said. “That’s the way I’d look at it if I was a coach.”