It all starts with a hit. A bump, or a jolt to the head, leaving effects lasting either a few days, to disabilities lasting a lifetime.
“We needed to develop a sensor that can help return to play decisions that need to be made on the spot within seconds,” says Michigan State University Professor, Marcos Dantus.
MSU Chemist’s, Marcos Dantus and Gary Blanchard invented force sensors that slide into headbands players can easily wear during a game, or under a helmet. These sensors would make it easier for coaches like Jack Wallace, Okemos High School Football Coach, to determine whether a player should stay in the game, or take a break.
“I think anything that would aid our trainers and doctors in determining and evaluating our kids is always a positive,” says Wallace.
After several prototypes and hours of research, the duo says, understanding the dangers of repeated concussions at various stages, is a key benefit of their design.
“If you saw what was apparently a bad hit, or if they came over complaining of something, or if they seem to be out of it, the helmet would come off, and out of the headband you would pull the sensor out and look to see had an impact occurred in any of the areas of the sensor, and if it had, how severe was it, and where was it,” says Blanchard.
Both Dantus and Blanchard say, it all boils down to safety both on and off the field. Something Coach Wallace says, would be beneficial.
“There’s so many great things about football other than the football field and obviously we want to make it safe for our players and I think that anything we can do to make that, make it a better game, then we have to look at an evaluate that,” says Wallace.