Early Indicators of a Concussion

Concussions have become quite a common injury in high school sports. A 2011 study indicates that concussions account for around 15% of all high school injuries for schools with athletic trainers. I specify that these schools have athletic trainers because this injury is often difficult to detect. In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics presented a paper that suggests schools with athletic trainers post higher concussion rates than schools without athletic trainers. This is clearly a problem. High school students will not have the discipline or the awareness to put themselves out of the game if they do not have an athletic trainer. Thus, I propose that Elon Musk invents a device for all sports that can be used to detect concussions.

It is no secret that football posts the highest rate of concussions out of any sport. There are about 67,000 football concussions that occur every year. Numerous companies have started to design helmets and devices to better protect athletes and detect concussion. A new device called BrainSentry helps to indicate whether a football player has sustained a hart hit. They attach a censor to the outside of the helmet and have a handhold device for the trainer to hold. When the player gets hit with enough force, the red light will flash on the handhold censor so the athletic trainer knows it could be a possible concussion.



Another similar device is Impakt’s ShockBox Helmet censors. This one is slightly more advanced. It provides real-time graphical data regarding hits to the head. There have been many advances in football to help detect concussions right away. However, there is clearly a need for a device that can detect them in other sports.

I am a soccer player here at Bucknell and I have witnessed many teammates get concussions. I have a friend on the  team that was unaware of having a concussion and played through it. He had to go to the hospital to get it checked out after. There needs to be a more efficient way to diagnose concussions in sports like soccer, basketball, and field hockey where there is no extra gear worn on the head. Out of 100,000 athletic exposures per sport, women’s soccer concussion rates rank 5th out of all sports, only behind four sports that have helmets (hockey, girls and guys lax, football). Thus, I challenge Musk to invent an affordable device that can help easily detect concussions upon impact.



5 thoughts on “Early Indicators of a Concussion”

  1. You did a great job of conveying the issue and options available, and I definitely agree concussions are a serious concern that would benefit from earlier detection.
    Rugby is a sport excluded from the chart above, but seems rougher than football yet doesn’t require head gear. I’m sure these players would benefit a great deal from this potential invention. I do wonder how you could detect head trauma without a device attached to the head. Maybe a small sweatband would work? A tracking sticker behind the ear? I hope someone works on this concern, if not Mr. Musk.


  2. In fourth grade, I got a concussion while playing red rover. I hadn’t known it and ended up going to the hospital after experiencing some extreme symptoms. Back then the doctors told me to stay home from school and take it easy for 24 hours and that was all. It’s amazing to see how much has changed in terms of the treatment and diagnosis of concussions. My high school did have athletic trainers and all athletes were required to take a concussion test at the beginning of every season. In the event that a player got hit in the head, they were required to take the same test to confirm a diagnosis. Aside from technology to diagnose concussions, is there anything that could be invented to prevent them in the first place?


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