In an effort to minimize the long-term effects of undiagnosed concussions, medical students at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC) are developing a smart helmet for football players.
With up to one-third of athletes sustaining an undiagnosed concussion, the helmets are made with sensors to detect the rotational acceleration, linear force, duration of impact and location of impact each time the wearer is tackled.
Athletes who resume playing in a sporting event before fully healing after a concussion can experience permanent brain damage, and even death. This happens quite often; nearly one-third of athletes have sustained a concussion that went undiagnosed and risked further brain injury.
Using the smart helmet, the team hopes players of all ages will be taken off the field immediately after a hit, instead of continuing to participate while injured.
Marketed under the name Minus Tau – a nod to the protein formed by brain damage – the group behind the helmets were recently named semifinalists in the Space Race, an international startup competition hosted by NASA and the Center for Advancing Innovation. The competition’s winners, announced later this year, will incorporate a business, apply for a NASA license, raise up to $1.2 million in seed funding from venture capitalists and officially launch a start-up with guidance from CAI.