The good old days of measuring the ‘biggest hit’ on Friday night footy by how much claret comes streaming out a bloke’s nose might be over.
Minneapolis-based tech outfit Prevent Biometrics have partnered with neurosurgeons from reputed medical researcher Cleveland Clinic to launch a mouthguard featuring an impact-monitoring microchip.
The chip measures linear and rotational acceleration, location, direction and count of each head impact to provide an immediate player assessment and diagnosis.
No word yet on whether it makes the individual wearing it smarter, but we’d love to hear a Jarryd Hayne press conference with him wearing one to find out. No, take that back… we really wouldn’t.
Prevent says players who stay in the game after head trauma take nearly twice as long to recover as athletes who leave the game immediately. So when it comes to concussions, “immediate detection and full recovery are key to preventing long-term damage”.
We imagine innovation like this would be music to the ears of Australian football codes like the AFL, NRL and Rugby Australia, who regularly face criticism of their loose concussion protocols and enforcement.
The Prevent Biometrics mouthguard, with its real-time monitoring technology that sends data directly to the smartphone of a team trainer, for example, would give Leagues (and teams) immediate, objective data to make a quick, medically-informed decision.
If every player in League was mandated to wear this sort of tech, imagine the data sports scientists could harvest and turn into concussion risk profiles, impact thresholds and other insights that would improve player safety from the grassroots through to the elite level.