Brian Swenson from New Jersey Institute of Technology performed a study “Impact Tracking In Unprotected Football” which is a collaborative effort to monitor traumatic brain injuries in sports and the factors of removing protective equipment.
“Removing protective equipment from football will result in players
being less likely to use their bodies as weapons, leading to a
reduction in dangerous head-to-head collisions.
This should result in a reduction in the magnitude of traditional
impact metrics across the sample such as peak linear acceleration
and peak rotational acceleration.”
A7FL: Full Contact Football With No Pads or Protective Equipment
A7FL is a thriving Pro Football league that has taken the country and world by storm. It features players without any protective equipment. There are seven players on each team (2 linemen & 5 “skill” positions). It is where the defense has no positional rules but the players must attempt to wrap while tackling. And modified kickoffs. A7FL is a new sport that bridges the gap between NFL/College football and flag football.
A7FL CEO Sener Korkusuz and President Ryan DePaul are the men behind one of the most progressive sports movements our generation has seen. They’ve been on the forefront of advocating safe play for all.
“I call on the prominent members of the football community who are working diligently to solve many of the problems with football today to engage with the A7FL to learn more about our solution which practically eliminates repetitive sub-concussive head to head blows and to get involved with vital research today to save the American football we all love and expand its following globally well into the future. Overall, we believe the results show elevated safety for A7FL athletes and that more research is needed.”
The Groundbreaking Study
A7FL and NJIT worked in unison to monitor 13 players using the i1 Biometrics Vector
mouthguard, which reports linear acceleration, calculates rotation, location, HIC (Head Injury Criterion ). There is a recording threshold of 5 g (Peak Linear Acceleration) and over 1000 impacts over the
course of one season.
Athlete Intelligence is the A7FL league provider of the Vector mouthguard; their mission statement is:
Athlete Intelligence creates actionable insights to help athletes reach their pure potential. By using the Athlete Intelligence platform, coaches, athletic trainers and athletes can use in-play data to create coachable moments, improve skills and reduce chance of injury. It’s more than a new dimension in coaching.
2nd Skull is the company that provides of the soft-padded headgear for the A7FL. Their mission and drive to provide protective headwear are:
Inspiring athletes to play with confidence by adding protection to the most important part of the body.
“It all started on a summer day in 2010. My kids were riding bikes and electric four wheelers. All of a sudden, I saw my son fall down and hit his head hard on the concrete. While he had his bicycle helmet on, I realized that in a split second our lives could change. I felt helpless and knew at that moment that I had to do something about this, for me and for other parents. If there was one product that could add protection to any sport helmet, what would it look like?”
This event sparked the idea which led to the journey and the birth of 2nd Skull.
This Unique Study Will Create Opportunities For Advanced Research
Understandably, there are factors that may be limited or uncharted given that this was the first study of its kind. The most notable factors are: the validity of the comparison between mouth guard sensors and helmet-based sensors (HITS), full access to comparison data sets would allow for non-parametric
statistical tests, and further investigation into extreme outliers (Examination of the data for unusual observations that are far removed from the mass of data).
In conclusion, Helmetless football results in a decrease in the mean of both linear
and rotational acceleration. The data suggests that this style alters impact location trends and that further research into position and conditions of impact need to take place in the future.
As we all know, head-on collisions are the direct cause for head, skull, and brain trauma. This movement will assist in the furthering of more preventative measures to make contact sports safer. A second study hasn’t been predetermined yet but we’re certain that a date will be set in the near future.
Written by John Monroe, TSJ101Sports.com, August 17, 2018
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