Head injuries have always been part and parcel of football. They have not been adequately looked into, and for this omission, Seattle’s X2IMPACT has designed an “intelligent mouth guard” that will not only perform its traditional role of protecting the jaw line from damage during intense and physical games, but will also double up as recorder of impact during a game and thus they will be extremely critical in research on concussions.
The Notre Dame Stadium, with 82,000 seats, will be the first stadium to witness this unique protective device in action. Concussions have widely been regarded as the progenitor of many severe problems later on, like dementia, loss of memory, and other allied problems. A minor concussion during a football match may not seem like a big deal, but it can have repercussions that may not be evident in the first glance. Hence, to chart the nature of these concussions and their relationship on the impact during a game, these mouth guards are extremely vital. Multiple concussion is even more worrisome than single concussion. Not much is known about the impact of concussions and hence, to overcome this problem, these mouth guards have been specially designed.
22 specially selected and trained fighting Irish players will wear these mouth guards that will assess the g-force of collision impact. They belong to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program, which is extremely prestigious and has won eleven national championships and seven Heisman Trophies. Both Notre Dame players and those of their opponent team, Stanford, will be equipped with these protective mouth guards and thus, the amount of data and the trends they offer will increase significantly.
These have to be adequately inserted in the mouths of the players following which they use their special rotating and acceleration sensors to provide and collect real time data and transmit it to computers located at the sidelines. The use of such data is manifold. They can be used by medical experts to assess the nature and impact of collisions and treat concussions. They can also be used by designers of sporting and protective gear like helmets to ensure that safety norms are maintained. The ultimate benefit will be the treasure trove of information collected about impact collisions, and the durability and resilience of the human cranium, which will be a great boon not only for sports but also for medicine.