Category Archives: General

Breaking News: NFL Announces Winners of First HeadHealthTECH Challenge

The National Football League (NFL) and Football Research, Inc. (FRI) today announced the winners of HeadHealthTECH Challenge I and launched HeadHealthTECH Challenge II, which “invites proposals for improvements in football protective equipment including helmets and related technologies, turf systems, shoulder and other pads, and additional innovative concepts.”

The HeadHealthTECH Challenge series is one component of the Play Smart. Play Safe. Engineering Roadmap—a $60-million comprehensive plan funded by the NFL and managed by FRI “to create incentives for sporting goods companies, as well as other manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and universities from around the world to develop improved helmets and protective equipment in the next three to five years.” Launched in November 2016, the TECH Challenge series is operated and managed on behalf of FRI by Duke University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (Duke CTSI).

“Our collective goal is to spur next-generation solutions in protective equipment,” said Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives. “Not only do these grants advance promising technologies, but FRI’s expert partners at Duke CTSI provide valuable feedback and mentorship to all companies that submit proposals. We want to encourage and support new and innovative ideas that will improve sports safety.”

“The TECH Challenge series is designed to bridge the gap between the engineering and medical experts and the marketplace, and to direct funding where we can create value,” said BARRY MYERS, MD, PhD, MBA, Director of Innovation Duke CTSI, Coulter Program Director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University and a consultant to the NFLPA. “If you’re an innovator, we want you to apply. We want to hear what your product is, what your vision is and how we can help you succeed.”

FRI awards “the most promising TECH Challenge proposals with a cumulative value of up to $1 million a year, including in-kind support. For TECH Challenge I, a panel of expert judges selected by Duke CTSI, in collaboration with FRI, reviewed and provided feedback on 50 proposals all focused on improved protective equipment. Every TECH Challenge applicant receives constructive feedback to help refine innovations and increase chances for success on future submissions and is invited to reapply.”

TECH Challenge I Winners:

  • VyaTek Sports received a grant of $190,000 to support development and testing of its Zorbz technology, a series of highly efficient energy-absorbing modules added to a helmet system that can be removed and replaced after a significant impact.
  • Guardian Innovations received a grant of $20,000 to support biomechanical testing of its Guardian Cap technology. The Guardian Cap is a decoupled, soft helmet cover designed to augment football helmets and reduce the severity of impacts.

Information about TECH Challenges and the process for making a submission can be found at: www.PlaySmartPlaySafe.com/HeadHealthTECH

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America’s Leading Manufacturer of Shock Pads for Artificial Turf Fields Plays Up Benefits with Sponsored Content

Josh Palubicki, the Chief Media Officer for Brock USA – “America’s leading manufacturer of shock pads for artificial turf fields,” recently played up his company’s product in an article labeled “Sponsored Content” in Athletics Business.

“Shock pads have been protecting athletes for over a decade and recently have become a key element in the majority of new-build field specifications, according to historical bid data,” wrote Palubicki.

“Shock pad adoption has steadily grown as research continues to shed light on the correlation between sports turf and concussions. One in five concussions occur from the head hitting the playing surface, stated a report by the Concussion Legacy Foundation. A study done for the NFL in 2015 found the playing surface was the primary cause of concussions in 24 percent of the cases from that season. Of course, shock pads only affect injury rates on artificial turf and concussions still occur on natural grass, so why would the NFL get behind shock pads? The answer lies in a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons that found injury rates are higher on third-generation artificial turf fields (turf-over-stone, rubber/sand infill) versus natural grass fields.”

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Special Issue of Journal of Athletic Training Focuses On Concussions

Sport-related concussion, one of the most complex injuries in sports medicine, is the focus of a new special issue of the Journal of Athletic Training, the scientific publication of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

“Over the last 20 years, our understanding of concussion mechanics, injury assessment and management has increased dramatically. We’ve made great strides with regard to education, research and legislation,” says special issue Guest Editor Steven Broglio, PhD, ATC, director, Neurotrauma Research Laboratory, University of Michigan. “Having the right multidisciplinary medical team in place, including the athletic trainer, who plays an important role in injury prevention and treatment, is vital. Our universal goal is to reduce the risk of injury and ensure a gold standard of care should concussion occur.”

Concussions during sport and recreation occur as often as 3.8 million times a year,1 resulting in up to seven injuries per minute every day of the year in the United States. Although each patient requires individual management, 90 percent of concussed athletes recover by day seven after injury.2   Concussive injuries compose 8.9 percent of all high school and 5.8 percent of all college athletic injuries.3

Key points from select studies published in the issue:

“Head Impact-Measurement Devices: A Systematic Review”

  • Head-impact sensors have limited applications to concussion diagnosis but may provide sideline staff with estimates of athlete exposure and real-time data to monitor players.
  • Given that concussion risk is influenced by many factors in addition to impact biomechanics, viewing an athlete’s head-impact data may provide context for the clinician working on the sidelines, but impact sensors should not replace clinical judgment.

“Predicting Recovery Patterns After Sport-Related Concussion”

  • Amnesia was the predictor that most influenced clinical recovery from concussion.
  • Loss of consciousness, concussion history and acute symptom group did not substantially affect symptom, cognitive or balance outcomes.
  • Most injured athletes recovered within the normal timelines established by the Graded Symptom Checklist, Standardized Assessment of Concussion and Balance Error Scoring System.

“Knowledge of Concussion and Reporting Behaviors in High School Athletes With or Without Access to an Athletic Trainer”

  • Compared with high school athletes who had access to an athletic trainer, those without such access were less knowledgeable about concussion.
  • Access to an athletic trainer was not linked to high school athletes’ concussion-reporting percentages. However, such access was related to 10 reasons for not reporting a concussion.
  • The most common reasons for not reporting a concussion were not wanting to lose playing time, not thinking the injury was serious enough to require medical attention and not wanting to let the team down.

“Epidemiology of Sport-Related Concussions in High School Athletes: National Athletic Treatment, Injury and Outcomes Network (NATION), 2011-2012 through 2013-2014”

  • Per 10,000 athlete-exposures, the rates of sport-related concussion were highest in football (9.21), boys’ lacrosse (6.65), and girls’ soccer (6.11).
  • Among sex-comparable sports, the rate of sport-related concussion was 56 percent higher in girls than in boys.
  • Most athletes with sport-related concussions returned to play after seven days, despite resolution of symptoms in a smaller proportion within one week.

“No sports medicine topic is more polarizing than concussion, and today’s standard of care supersedes where we were just a decade ago,” says Broglio. “With validated measures, more and more of the guesswork is being removed from the process. While many questions persist about more sophisticated diagnostic measures, rehabilitation and long-term effects of injury, we continue to make great progress, remain current on research and new techniques and provide the best possible care for our patients at any level of sport or activity.”

Other suggested articles in the special issue:

 

 

1Langlois JA, Rutland-Brown W, Wald MM. The epidemiology and impact of traumatic brain injury: a brief overview. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2006;21(5):375–378.

 

2McCrea M, Guskiewicz KM, Randolph C, et al. Incidence, clinical course, and predictors of prolonged recovery time following sportrelated concussion in high school and college athletes. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2013;19(1):22–33.

 

3Gessel LM, Fields SK, Collins CL, Dick RW, Comstock RD. Concussions among United States high school and collegiate athletes. J Athl Train. 2007;42(4):495–503.

 

 

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