he 2016 NFL season will begin on Thursday, September 8th and kick-off will be accompanied by more than just screaming fans and cold beer. As wearable technologies progress, the devices are maneuvering their way into the sports world. Today’s athletes are exposed to everything from specially-designed helmets to band-aid like wearable devices used to track temperature, heart rate, movement, and more.
These innovations will allow coaches to more closely monitor the health and performance of athletes to prevent injuries and identify areas in need of improvement. As the devices are refined, experts predict the technology will become an integral part of the football world for teams and fans alike. The sections below outline a few innovations paving the way for a new football experience.
Vicis Football Helmet
More than 40 percent of retired NFL players have symptoms of a traumatic brain injury and the league is facing increasing pressures to reduce this number. The ZERO1 football helmet was developed by Seattle startup, Vicis, and was one of the three winners of the NFL’s Head Health technology competition. The helmet is designed to prevent concussions by using a multi-layered system and innovative outer shell that caves in and then returns to its normal shape when heavy impact is applied. This reduces the acceleration of the impact on the player’s head, therefore reducing the likelihood of a concussion, skull fracture, or traumatic brain injury.
The NFL is no stranger to the topic of head injuries considering the $900 million class action law suit settlement that was reached between the organization and thousands of former players in April 2015. The 5,000-plus players were each allotted up to $5 million due to the league’s alleged attempts to downplay the risk of concussions and keep players in the game.
The ZERO1 helmet provides the league with a tool for safeguarding players from such traumatic injuries. Twenty-five NFL and 30 NCAA teams have already expressed an interest in testing the helmet during their 2016 seasons. Each helmet will sell for $1,500, but the company is working to make the new technology more affordable for high-school and youth participants.
The Reebok CheckLight is another technology innovation that is enhancing the head and brain health of football players. The device was produced via the collaboration of Reebok and the electronics design firm MC10. A black skull cap is embedded with sensory technology that indicates when a player needs medical attention by assessing head impact data as it occurs.
A small LED light is attached to a tail at the base of the skullcap. The light flashes green for low impact, yellow for moderate impact, and red for heavy impact. Concussions and head injuries are not easy to detect, and the Checklight enables coaches to more accurately determine the level of injury.
The Checklight was first tested on the Wayland-Weston Warriors, a youth football team in Massachusetts. The device proved its usefulness when it sensed a moderate injury on a player who claimed to feel fine but later experienced concussion symptoms. The National Academy of Sciences reported nearly 250,000 young athletes are admitted to the emergency room for serious head injuries each year. This number is likely on the lower end of the spectrum considering how difficult head injuries are to detect and the tendency for symptoms to appear hours after the impact.
The CheckLight technology is centered on the presumption that the risk of head trauma cannot be eliminated from the sport, but it can be mitigated, and cases of moderate impact can be identified when they happen to prevent more severe injuries in the future.
The BioStampRC is a small, body-worn sensor that gathers physiological data without inconveniencing the user wearing the device. The data can be easily accessed on tablet and web applications that enable researchers to spend less time collecting data and more time generating insights.
The BioStampRC was also designed by MC10 and is a waterproof sticker much like a band-aid. The device, without needing a charge, provides real-time access to an individual’s activity levels and vital signs for up to 36 hours at a time. The inconspicuous nature of the BioStamp allows it to be easily hidden as it tracks the user’s temperature, heart-rate, sleep patterns, movement, and more. This technology could pave the way for advancements in both the sports and medical fields.
Soon, doctors could be able to gather data about an individual’s health and fitness using the BioStampRC with a Bluetooth connection. Soon, doctors could be able to gather data about an individual’s health and fitness via a Bluetooth connection. Essentially, data collected from the device can provide an actual snapshot of an individual’s health for more in-depth research and sophisticated analysis.
Technology is always evolving and companies are pressured take advantage of the latest industry innovations to keep pace with competitors. Aldridge is focused on providing the IT support and consulting your organization needs to bolster your IT environment and your business as a whole. To learn about the latest technology available, contact a firm representative today.