NFL Officials Hoping to Use Same Helmet Sensor Technology as the Army to Detect and Treat Brain Injuries
With more than 2,000 former National Football League players joining in a lawsuit against the league over accusations that officials knew that the athletes were being exposed to dangerous head injuries, the NFL is currently looking into ways to reduce the number of concussions that are occurring. The league’s officials believe that their players have something in common with the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, as the Army currently uses helmet sensors to detect brain injuries in its active duty personnel. The NFL would like to share that technology.
Approximately 10,000 helmets are actively being used by soldiers, as this program is still relatively young since its inception. At least 45,000 additional helmets have been ordered for use among the soldiers currently in active combat scenarios. The helmets work by relaying the possibility of a traumatic brain injury event back to medical officials, who can then test the soldiers and determine the severity of an injury, from concussions to extreme trauma.
According to Lt. Col. Frank Lozano, via the Ft. Stewart Patch, the sensors will go a long way in helping the military detect and treat brain injuries before they can become worse and life-threatening.
"[Screening] is the important part, so we can realize that a soldier has been through a traumatic event," Lozano said. "Combat is inherently a traumatic event, and there's very little way to avoid that. But what we want to be able to do is immediately understand if those traumatic events have been realized or manifested in the state of a concussion. And if that has occurred, then we want to allow the Soldier the right amount of time to heal.
"I really can't say we're seeing a number change in TBIs, [but] the intent is that over the next couple of years, we would hope that we would see the number of TBI cases drop.”
The NFL’s interest is understandable, as the league’s officials are trying to fight off accusations that team executives and NFL front office leaders knew that players were being subjected to multiple concussions, and that these head injuries were going to affect the athletes for the rest of their lives. Whether they knew or not is yet to be seen, but for the time being, the use of these cutting edge sensors will allow teams to better treat players on the field if they are exhibiting signs of concussions after intense hits.
News of the NFL’s brain injuries lawsuits became even more prominent in May, when former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau committed suicide at the age of 42. Seau’s family and friends suggested that the future Hall-of-Fame inductee suffered from serious bouts of insomnia, which may have been caused by countless untreated concussions that he suffered during his 13-year career. Seau’s family recently agreed to let his brain tissue be tested in order to better understand the affect that a long NFL career may have on the head and brain.