An interesting report from wired.com circulated last week that states the NFL may allow impact sensors in helmets, pads and mouth guards next year. The wired.com piece fails to mention that this is not a new technology, and has already been used in both practice and research at the college and high school levels. The most widely available technology is from Simbex and is featured in a commercially available system marketed exclusively by Riddell (HITS).
Which brings me to my point – many would assume that professional sports have the best and most advanced equipment available, but that is not exactly the case when the company is not the official supplier/sponsor or may somehow, someway affect the collective bargaining agreement (see any NFL or NHL helmet discussion). While players are generally allowed to wear any helmet they wish, the current technology of accelerometers in helmets is only capable in Riddell brand equipment. As for the other sensors in the pads and mouth, those do not have “exclusive” rights, as of yet. This fact could “muddy” the water in data collection and interpretation.