Scientists unveil pitch count for head injury prevention
NEW YORK -- Doctors focused on lowering risk of sports concussions and long-term head injuries introduced Hit Count, a data-driven personal analysis platform backed by Dr. Chris Nowinski of Sports Legacy Institute.
Hit Count was designed to establish guidelines for help parents and coaches regulate the allowance of brain trauma in children.
"Research using sensor devices has revealed that each year in the United States, there are over 1.5 billion impacts to the heads of youth and high school football players," said Nowinski. "Most hits are unnecessary and occur in practice. By utilizing Hit Count certified products as a teaching tool for coaches and a behavior modification tool for athletes, we can eliminate over 500 million head impacts next season."
Sports Legacy Institute, a non-profit leader in brain injury research and preventative measures, partnered with youth programs, scientists and technology companies to measure brain trauma in real time using headbands, mouthguards and helmets.
"Current science does not provide a 'safe' or 'unsafe' hit count," said Gerard A. Gioia, Ph. D,, of George Washington University's Children's National Health System. "Our goal is to eventually provide clear guidance for coaches and parents. We will need the youth sports, sensor manufacturer, and medical science communities to work together to provide reliable answers."
G-Force Tracker, which makes a device implanted in hockey, football and lacrosse helmets, was the first company to be "Hit Count" Certified.
Hit Count aims to certify products that will be tested using protocol developed by the University of Ottawa Neurotrauma Impact Laboratory in cooperation with engineers from the six partners -- MC10, Triax, Battle Sports Science, G-Force Tracker, i1Biometrics, Impakt Protective.
The initiative was announced Monday at the Super Bowl XLVIII Media Center in a press conference attended by former Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive back Mike Haynes, who was a nine-time Pro Bowl pick and now coaches his son's fourth-grade football team.
"I track the number of steps I take each day to lower my risk of heart disease," Johnson said. "I owe it to my son to count the number of hits to his head in sports to lower his risk of concussions and subconcussive brain damage."
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