Varsity football players in Tolono, Ill., wear helmets with electronic encoder modules to detect blows to the head that may cause injury.
Thirty-two members of the Unity High School Rockets wear the high-tech headgear, which uses six strategically placed, spring-loaded accelerometers to beam information wirelessly to a Web-based system on a laptop computer on the sidelines. It also compiles impact data including location of hits, magnitude of force and length of hits.
Steven Broglio of the University of Illinois, in Champaign, Ill., said a number of other researchers at universities across the nation — including Virginia Tech, the University of North Carolina and Dartmouth University — use the system for studies of biomechanical processes caused by concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
"The baseline assessments are all over the map, because the kids’ brains are still developing, they have different ranges and abilities," Broglio said in a statement. "If an athlete is diagnosed with a concussion, he will not return to play until neurocognitive function returns to baseline performance."