Youth football team given mouthguards to track head impacts
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The beginning of August is the start of football season and practices. For some of these junior football players, they’ll be getting a different piece of equipment along with their usual gear.
Sanford research has been active with South Dakota Junior Football in trying to measure and help reduce head impacts for almost a decade. Sanford recently wrapped up it’s study on head hits using sensors in helmets. But now, they have another way to measure even more data.
“This year, we’re transitioning to some new technology which is a mouthguard. This is a mouthguard that fits inside the players’ mouths, and it has an accelerometer and a gyroscope. We can measure the number of impacts and the severity of impacts.” Dr. Thayne Munce with Sanford Research said.
13 players on a local team will be fitted with a mouthguard that will be monitored every time they’re on the field. Along with video of every event, researchers will be able to measure each head hit and see what situation caused it.
“The players will wear the mouthguards for every practice and every game. A member of out staff will come out to every practice and every game. We have an app on our device that we can communicate with the mouthguards so we can collect the data.” Munce said.
That’s a relief for Josh Grabow. His son Noah will be participating in the study, just like his older son in Sanford’s helmet study.
“Getting to see it continue to progress and grow to the point now where they’re doing the mouthguards instead. I think it’s really great that we have this here in Sioux Falls, and contributing to the game, the safety of the game.” Grabow said.
Munce said testing out the mouthguards not only will allow them to expand their research to other youth football teams and other age levels. He said it will also allow them to move to other sports as well, where head impacts are common.
“So we can start looking at head impacts in sports like soccer, hockey, and lacrosse. Something that we haven’t been able to do before with out football helmet technology.” Munce said.
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