New product to help fight against concussions

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As we all know the dangers of head trauma through contact sports have become a major issue as of recent. But two Australians, Alan Pearce and Braden Wilson have come up with a device which could decrease the potential for concussions, introducing the ‘Brainband’.

How it works is the ‘Brainband’ uses the latest smart technology to assess and transmit the extent of a head knock. The device, a thick black headband hiding a removable “tech-pack”, has coloured LED lights which indicate the G-force of the hit, as well as rotation of the head, from yellow through orange up to red for a high alert.

Concussions are extremely under-reported with an estimated six to 10 incidents going unrecognised.

“If you are not assessing concussions properly, there is potential for further injury, and in junior athletes it could be catastrophic,” Pearce, an associate professor of neuroscience at Melbourne’s Swinburne University.

Pearce paired up with Wilson, an industrial designer by Samsung Mixed Talents campaign where they have utilised the company’s technology in the development of the gear.

Wilson has said that the design of the device had to reflect that apprehensiveness of athletes in sports like rugby and Australian Rules Football about wearing the Brainband.

“There were challenges with our target audience… We wanted it to be worn with pride – a crown, not a bandage – something that was symbolic of a gladiator as our modern athletes are,” said Wilson.

Wallabies full-back Israel Folau, who has also played rugby league and Australian Rules at an elite level, modelled the Brainband as part of the “validation” process this week.

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The next step for these two is to work on a production model which can be delivered at a price, which will enable it to feature at all levels of contact sport, hopefully in the next few years. Specifically at Junior Level, as at an elite level, they have a team of clinicians available with expert medical care.

“But at the junior levels, they may have trainers who are not really in a position to diagnose neurological conditions like concussions.

“It should be as much part of the uniform as the boots and the socks and the jersey and not even be noticed.”

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