HeadsUp Headband Could Shed New Light On Concussions In Sports
Injuries are a part of sport; there is no getting around it. However, sports medicine has advanced to a point in which most injuries won't sideline athletes indefinitely and won't have a lasting impact on their lives. Concussions are one of the exceptions. These traumatic brain injuries can derail an athlete's career and degrade their quality of life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate there are between 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions annually. Of course, these numbers present a fairly wide range, and some health professionals believe those numbers to be higher. Under-reporting is the culprit behind the discrepancies in sports-related concussion estimates, and behind under-reporting a lack of familiarity.
This general lack of familiarity with the symptoms and treatment options of concussions means that they go undetected and aren't properly cared for. Integrated Bionics, with its new product, the HeadsUp Headband, is hoping to raise awareness about concussions, as well as gather head impact data so that concussion diagnosis and treatment can evolve into more informed, evidence based processes.
I'm sure, by now, you're wondering what exactly is this HeadsUp Headband? The short version--it is a headband that records head impacts. The long version--it is a headband that contains multiple accelerometers designed to measure head acceleration and compare a high dynamic range of data to an industry standard criteria, the Head Injury Criterion.
Made specifically with girls soccer in mind, the HeadsUp Headband is small, light-weight and discrete. It was designed to be minimally invasive, allowing players to compete without hindrance. Though it was designed specifically for girls soccer (a sport with a very high number of reported concussions), the founders at Integrated Bionics have also been working with the USA Women's Rugby National Team to potentially collect data from that sport as well.
Most concussion studies and data are done and gathered in the realm of professional football. With the HeadsUp Headband, data from other sports can be collected. Co-founder of Integrated Bionics, Yves Smith, explains, "Similar to how researchers have constructed head injury risk profiles for NFL players, we hope to accomplish the same for a wider variety and often undeserved sports."
Yves Smith and the people at Integrated Bionics believe in the "concept of the quantified self." They hope the data gathered from the HeadsUp Headband can help enhance the view of the sports medicine landscape. Smith says, "We hope our data will reveal correlations in sport, age, gender, height, weight, play style and concussion risk. This data will help us maximize the efficacy of the HeadsUp and enable parents, players and coaches to make the most informed and evidence-based decisions."
These "informed and evidence-based decisions" are what could potentially help athletes recover from concussions faster and better and help to halt a degradation of life-quality that can come with repeated head injuries. The HeadsUp Headband is not a product that is available to the general public just yet. However, there is a pre-release program athletes can sign up for and perhaps become a part of a mass influx of concussion data that could help other athletes. For more information, you can check out the Integrated Bionics site.