If you are anything like me, worrying about your kids' safety is woven deeply into the fabric of your DNA. As the mom of a football player, I know football moms are no exception. No matter how strong we may appear to be on the outside, worry is our constant companion, especially when it comes to injuries, like concussions.
So what's a mom to do? Live with it in anguish? Or do something about it?
More and more moms are choosing, like I have been for more than a decade, to be pro-active about their kids' safety in sports, and, in doing so are turning to an unlikely source - technology - to ease their fears.
One of the new products on the market, to which MomsTeam is proud to give its Seal of Approval. is the Impact Indicator from Battle Sports Science.*
In simplest terms, the Impact Indicator is a sensor that fits neatly into a soft, durable chinstrap. Players strap it on to their helmet and go about their business playing the game they love (and that football moms and dads love to watch them play). While they do, the Impact Indicator's cutting-edge technology is always at work. If a player's helmet is hit, the device measures the G-force and the duration of the hit to the helmet in HIC levels (Head Injury Criteria), which is one way to measure the likelihood of head injury from an impact (there are, as of yet, no studies telling us precisely the amount of force necessary to cause a concussion, and the amount of force that results in concussion can, and does, vary from player to player and, often, over time).
In so doing, the Impact Indicator addresses one of football's (and one of a mom's) biggest worries, head injuries (e.g. concussions). As readers of my blog and of my articles on MomsTeam know, while concussions have become one of the most widely reported subjects in sports in recent years, at all levels, from pee wee to pro, they have been one of my passions for over a decade.
We know that the number of concussions youth, middle and high school athletes are sustaining in games and practices has risen so much in recent years (ironically, part, because those that don't involve a loss of consciousness - which account for 90 to 95% of the total - are now being counted as concussions) that it has reached, according to the Centers for Disease Control, "epidemic levels." Football, not surprisingly, continues to be the sport reporting the greatest number of concussions (it is the number one sport in America in terms of participation), and the highest concussion rate.
The good news is that, according to recent studies, most young athletes fully recover from the effects of a concussion within the first seven to ten days, provided they get the physical and cognitive rest they need to allow their growing brains to fully heal, and that advances in medical research and technology are helping better identify those head injuries on the sports sideline that warrant further assessment and evaluation.
And that's where the Impact Indicator is valuable. When an impact that may cause a concussion is detected, a light on the chinstrap changes from green to red to alert parents, coaches, athletic trainers and referees to the possibility of a concussion. The player can then be evaluated on the sideline and, if he exhibits signs of concussion (such as short-term memory, dizziness, headache, or balance problems), immediately removed from the game, as the law now requires in 28 states and the District of Columbia.
The Impact Indicator wasn't developed by a mother, but clearly it was inspired by them. I wish it had been around when my son was playing football and I spent much of my time in the bleachers worrying about his safety. It should give today's parents a little less reason to worry, which is a very good thing, indeed. And, for those football moms (and dads) who happen to live in Texas or Arizona, a flashing red Impact Indicator on your son's helmet may actually give you the right under the law, as a parent, to insist upon the removal of your child from play for further evaluation.
Granted, the Impact Indicator isn't going to spot all concussions, and is only one tool in the concussion toolbox. But even if it only warns about one concussion that would otherwise gone undetected, it is a tool I think any football mom would want to have.
For the most comprehensive information for sports parents about concussions, visit the MomsTeam concussion center.
More information about the Impact Indicator can be found at www.battlesportsscience.com.*MomsTeam is proud to have Battle Sports Science as one of our sponsors.