Measurement of skull acceleration in contact sports

Rugby, cycling, boxing, soccer, judo, horse racing … virtually no sport is free from shock. dangerous? Risk of concussion and neurodegenerative diseases. There are many symptoms, but athletes are often lacking in monitoring. To overcome this shortage, a team at Michigan State University in East Lansing has developed a compact and flexible detector that sits behind the athlete’s neck. Since you can directly measure head movements, especially acceleration, you can infer the risk of concussion.

One-fifth of concussion caused by sports in general

Concussion is by no means a trivial accident. It is hit and suddenly given to the brain, and the acceleration it receives changes neurons, resulting in unwanted chemical changes. This type of medical condition causes discomfort, pain, and malaise, especially sleep deprivation. In the long run, problems with memory, concentration, and dynamism arise. In one of the most affected sports, rugby, the incidence is 0.31 concussion per game in the first part (Top 14) French Men’s Professional Championship, or once every three games per team. It’s a concussion. In the United States, 99% of professional American football players (National Football League) suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, which affects the brain and causes neurodegenerative diseases, according to one study.

Around the world, one-fifth of concussion is generally due to sports (a total of 1.7 million concussion per year, or 340,000 due to sports). Sudden movements in all sports have a negative effect. In addition, women are at greater risk of suffering concussion than men, but have less follow-up. Effective treatments recognized today do not “repair” these exacerbations.

It is in this context that the American team has developed a flexible and portable self-powered detector. For Nelson Sepulveda, a professor at Michigan State University and the founder of the concept: “The idea came from the need for technology that could detect an athlete’s concussion for contact sports.” The idea is to set up a monitoring system that can detect acceleration and therefore the risk of potential degradation. “In the past, this type of surveillance used an accelerometer built into the helmet. [pour des sports comme le football américain, ndlr] However, the measurements provided are unreliable because it is the acceleration of the helmet, not the acceleration of the skull itself. ” Researchers continue.

For the development of telemedicine?

The developed, flexible, one-tenth mm thick prototype can be glued to the neck. Shock, neck twist, and brain movement are detected and measured more reliably. To test it, researchers attached such devices and accelerometers placed in the indentations of the skull to the dummy. By dropping dummies from vertical ramps of various heights, they were able to compare the acceleration data to that given by the thin sensor. Result: The voltage measured by the patch increases with the speed and acceleration of the fall.Nelson Sepulveda is under consideration “Athletes wear these patches during the match and coaches monitor players for potential injuries by analyzing the data continuously transmitted by the device.” Considering this innovation that is useful for sports and health, we hope to reduce the concussion that affects the health of athletes and, more generally, to counter the pathology of the nervous system (where the brain is part of it). is. We can also expect these telemedicine concepts to gain momentum in the future …

Matthew Fan