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.