If you've ever played any type of contact sport, there’s a chance you could have suffered a concussion without ever having known about it.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, about 3.8 million sport-related concussions are sustained in the U.S. each year and represent about 9% of all high school athletic injuries.
A concussion is described as shaking of the brain inside the skull and most commonly results in impaired cognitive function. Although it is a fairly common injury among athletes, what many don’t realize is that a concussion can occur even when there is no direct blow to the head; it’s possible for an athlete to suffer from a concussion due to something as simple as a quick change in direction or speed.
Plus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention many people don’t realize that concussions are common in both helmeted and non-helmeted sports, can occur even without loss of consciousness, and no matter how severe, should always be treated as a serious injury.
Because of these of these common misconceptions, many concussions are never diagnosed and are often left untreated, which several studies have shown can lead to poor brain function and other negative side effects for years after the injury is sustained.
Fortunately, new technology is being developed and implemented to help coaches and athletes monitor cranial impacts during athletic activity. For example, Connecticut-based tech start-up Triax manufactures headbands and skullcaps embedded with a Smart Impact Monitor™ that measures G-force impacts.
Taking into account that a concussion can occur even without a direct blow to the head, the monitor measures both linear and rotational impacts of up to 150G’s.
Through a simple app, data recorded by the monitor is instantly transmitted to coaches who can review feedback regarding the strength of an impact and whether or not it reached a “danger zone threshold.”
The technology also comes with software that alerts coaches when athletes are using bad form and offers feedback for improved technique that can help avoid head trauma.
While other solutions like improved helmets and mouth guards aim to better protect against concussions, the ACSM continues to emphasize that while helmets can shield athletes from sustaining more serious head injuries they cannot completely prevent concussions.
The advantage of the Triax technology lies in the ability for coaches to monitor athletes and detect even minor head trauma (even when common symptoms like headache, nausea, blurry vision, and dizziness aren’t present), which is a significant breakthrough because early recognition and immediate treatment are considered the most important aspects for a healthy recovery.