The NFL is already working with the military on changing the culture of dealing with concussions.
Now they’re pairing up on the technology as well.
According to a report in Stars and Stripes, the military’s independent news source, the NFL wants to put sensors in player helmets to gather data on concussions. The Army has been putting blast sensors in helmets since 2007, and will use 45,000 of them to monitor head injuries suffered by bomb blasts in Afghanistan.
And NFL spokesman told Stars and Stripes the league is testing sensors now, and any information gathered will be shared with doctors, engineers and the military. The goal is to prevent concussions — or at least minimize the severity — and reduce the stigma of seeking treatment for head injuries.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Army chief of staff Gen. Ray T. Odierno in May. That was followed by a pair of meetings at the Pentagon between NFL players, coaches and medical personnel.
The technology will help, but the psychology is as important.
Both football players and soldiers have a hard-wired urge to stay in the game, and self-reporting a concussion is a first step some may be unwilling to take.
“Our players may not want to listen to medical personnel and coaches deliver the message, but perhaps they’ll listen to a Special Ops soldier who has seen significant combat action,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
With awareness of concussion problems at an all-time high (along with litigation), the move can be viewed as a step in the right direction. And any benefit football can provide to guys fighting real fights is a positive as well.