A pilot program designed to provide more information for concussion research could become more widespread, and put sensors in every helmet by 2015.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, two teams participated in the program for part of last year, and researchers are trying to fine-tune the technology to measure head impact in games.
The work is being done by University of North Carolina researcher Kevin Guskiewicz, who is a member of both league and union safety committees.
“We need a sample of these players across all positions and studying every play type possible,” Guskiewicz said. “So, that’s the next step. Then I hope from there that, if we find (the devices) have utility that could actually help an individual player … my hope would be that we would go league-wide.”
But he said he was “thrilled” that teams are buying into the idea of collecting data, though hurdles remain.
“I personally believe that there is valuable information to be gained for a player to learn how to perhaps modify his behavior, to track the way in which he’s leading with his head possibly or positioning his body on a certain play type that could help protect him,” Guskiewicz said.
“So, we just sort of have to go through this in a methodical approach to work on the feasibility. This year, I hope that we’re able to move forward with answering some of the questions that we have around potential rules changes, and then the following year, who knows?”
As with most issues, getting players and management to agree to anything is difficult, but if the technology can present a step forward in the accurate diagnosis of concussions and head injuries, then players and the league need to find a way to implement.