NFL teaming with Army on helmet sensor technology


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.

4 responses to “NFL teaming with Army on helmet sensor technology

  1. 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.
    Alpha men. Having done both, I’m 45 and stuff is breaking down on me left and right. I know why most of the stuff that’s going wrong, is going wrong. I could’ve been a sportswriter, or a ballerina, but I chose to be a football player and a soldier. Choices include the downside too.

  2. I think this is a great idea. Using technology to gather data that you can then use to design helmets that lessen the severity or prevent some concussions is great. The military is usually at the cutting edge of technology, and here is a situation where I think they can both learn from each other.

    Also I think it’s a great idea to team up with the military to change the culture around head injuries so that people begin to realize the severity of these injuries and they aren’t something to be slighted or ignored. Changing the culture so there isn’t a stigma around people who report head injuries like they would a gunshot wound or other injury. Changing the mentality that if you are “a real man” you don’t report or worry about head injuries.

    It’s just too bad it’s taken them both this long to figure out this sort thing would be helpful.

  3. So…how is this different from the HiT (Helmet Impact Technology) that the NFL proposed be used back in 2010 that the NFLPA (Allegedly) blocked, because players didn’t want Doctors reading a computer, telling the player how hard he’d been hit and pulling them from the game?

    I’m all for trying to make helmets and pads as safe as we can, of course, there’s always going to be risk with the NFL simply because it’s a rough sport, and you’re always going to have injuries when you’ve got 200-300+ lbs individuals going at each other at full strength…but, if we can increase the effectiveness of their protective gear, maybe the NFL won’t have to make nearly as many changes in the name of safety, that certainly detract from the physicality and competitiveness of the sport itself.

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