What Impact can WE make?


I have worked with Battle Sports Science for the past year, mainly as the athletic trainer trying to come up with all the problems one would have by putting any “concussion” device on the field of play.  The things I have gained out of this relationship are: friendship, an opportunity to be the overbearing and opinionated athletic trainer, be on the cutting edge of the concussion awareness movement, tickets to a Nebraska football game, and a few Impact Indicators (oh and an unflattering picture of me on the package).  More importantly what I have learned in the relationship; is that with Chris Circo at the helm there is truly a company out there looking to make a difference – yes they aim to profit as well – however they want to get it right.  It all begins with the words and actions.  One such action that carried heavy weight for me was a conversation about their mouthguards.  I mentioned to Circo that I felt his product claims on the mouthguard was out of line in terms of their concussion claims, and just asked him to remove it.  Guess what, he did!  He had to change packaging and even when there was a distributor that had the old verbage on a website was found he made a call and had that changed too.

I tell you this because Chris has worked on a post for this blog (hopefully others) to use to bring up the question: “How can WE ALL help?”  It explains what they are trying to accomplish as well, using the Impact Indicator as a good first step;

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What Vince Lombardi can teach us about protecting athletes from brain injuries.

Gap-toothed and sporting a trademark crew cut, the face of Vince Lombardi brings to mind one word for most football fans, winning. It’s easy to see why too. The legendary coach led the Green Bay Packers to 3 straight league championships, won 2 consecutive Super Bowls and never had a losing season as a head coach in the NFL. He’s also famous for a quote about winning he never uttered, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” The hard-nosed coach’s actual quote “Winning isn’t everything … but wanting to win is” gives us I believe, cause to stop and think.

The place we find ourselves today in the battle to reduce head injuries in football is marked by something extremely positive, a great common desire. We all want the same thing, to keep players safe and playing the game they love.  We see it everyday; men and

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“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

            — Vince Lombardi, Legendary NFL football coach

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women from all walks of life…trainers, coaches, parents, physicians, school administrations and those in business…are working hard and making great strides to keep athletes from suffering the devastating effects of concussions in sport.

What we need now is common effort to achieve our common desire. As coach Lombardi said, “people who work together will win.” Our goal it seems clear, moves closer to reality when we continue to combine our expertise. Groups like the Sports Legacy Institute, stopconcussions.com, MomsTeam, Dustin Fink and theconcussionblog are at the forefront of that effort and each is doing an amazing job of bringing the issue to light and working as a village to solve the epidemic athletes and parents are exposed to multiple times a day.

We in the sports safety equipment industry are equally committed to being leaders in the collective solution. At Battle Sports Science, we are reaching out to experts and those interested in concussion prevention and treatment to initiate conversations and demonstrate how our new Impact Indicator can be a piece of a more effective approach to the problem. In the course of those conversations, our team has heard many of the questions and concerns that impact and complicate work in this area. Some of the questions include healthy (and welcome) scrutiny of our Impact Indicator. Others touch a wide range of topics. “Who should be responsible for detecting and preventing concussions at all levels of sports?” “Will my involvement in concussion assessment result in a lawsuit or me going to court?” How can we get more certified athletic trainers on sidelines across the country?”

The last question everyone agrees sits at the top of the list of items for our collective effort. The end goal of getting athletes off the field for assessments before they incur additional impact on an already-injured brain we know centers on athletic trainers and medical professionals. The skill and dedication of trainers is a must on fields. The obstacle of course is money. Budgets are tight and often shrinking. We believe however, the problem is far from insurmountable.  The history of our great country is filled with tenacious, “never say die” people like Vince Lombardi. Civic enhancements like trails and walkways in cities (even when they lead to nowhere) are examples of people finding ways to fund things that improve lives. The will of people made them a reality in many cases. It’s not at all far-fetched to suggest then that we can collectively muster the will of the people to the noble goal of keeping the brains of our future citizens healthy by getting more certified athletic trainers on the sidelines.

A smaller but altogether complimentary goal is in our opinion, getting technology like the Impact Indicator on the field. There’s no disputing the grim reality that many concussion symptoms go unnoticed to the naked eye. The Impact Indicator is another set of eyes (a sophisticated set on eyes) on the field to help athletic trainers and coaches know when a hit was sustained where head injuries are likely. Cutting-edge technology, the Indicator is built into the chinstrap of football, hockey and lacrosse helmets. It signals when a player has sustained a hit that exceeds a threshold where a head injury is more likely. The Indicator’s patented LED light system flashes red when an impact exceeds a threshold of 240 HICs, a threshold established by the re-known sports research laboratory, Wayne State University.

It’s important for us to be 100% clear, the Impact Indicator is not intended as a cure-all to concussion detection. Additionally, I want all to know our company has never communicated this to be its purpose. We recognize different thresholds for concussion exist and so ultimately it’s up to trained professionals to determine if a player should return-to-play or not. We’re happy to say though, athletic associations across the country believe the Impact Indicator is a part of the solution and are adopting the Impact Indicator in growing numbers to of keep players safer. Professional athletes are doing the same. In this year’s Super Bowl, BenJarvus Green-Ellis wore the Indicator and will wear it along with multiple other NFL athletes in the 2012 season.

Coaches like Vince Lombardi that preach the remarkable powers of teamwork can and should be inspirations to us all. New levels of collaboration and the continued exchange of ideas, together with a will that never bends, can lead us to new heights of success in our common effort to break the cycle of concussion related injury and usher in a safer era of play for athletes at all levels.

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To be clear:

I am endorsing this product, HOWEVER ONLY as a tool in the concussion awareness “tool-box.”  This product does not make claims of attenuation or protection from forces to the head, nor does it claim anything more than an accelerometer that will notify via a light signal that a threshold of forces to the HEAD REGION (that being above the neck) has been surpassed. 

I also think the HIT System by Simbex is very good as well, however that is out of price range for almost everyone outside of high level college footbal and pros (I know they are working on a more affordable product).  Plus that system is exclusive to one type of helmet.

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One thought on “What Impact can WE make?

  1. Mark May 7, 2012 / 19:29

    Dustin, Welcome to the world of hocking an unproven product that lacks any credible research. It’s like pulling teeth. Good luck.

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