Aussie 'Brainband' joins fight against concussion

Tue Mar 22, 2016 9:10am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY (Reuters) - If a couple of Australians have their way, the days when an athlete can take a big hit on the field then groggily pick himself up and head back into the fray will soon be gone.

The dangers of head trauma have become an area of major concern in contact sports and in the "Brainband", Alan Pearce and Braden Wilson believe they have come up with a device to objectively flag up the potential for concussion.

Rather than the rough and ready "How many fingers can you see?" test much beloved of sponge-wielding trainers for time immemorial, the "Brainband" uses the latest smart technology to asssess and transmit the extent of a head knock.

The device, a thick black headband hiding a removable "tech-pack", has colored LED lights which indicate the G-force of the hit, as well as rotation of the head, from yellow through orange up to red for a high alert.

"If you are not assessing concussions properly, there is potential for further injury, and in junior athletes it could be catastrophic," Pearce, an associate professor in neuroscience at Melbourne's Swinburne University, told Reuters.

"Concussion is heavily under-reported by a factor of six to 10 times the real figure that we're estimating at the moment.

"With something like the Brainband we're looking at having an objective measure that removes that subjectivity or the possibility of a player not wanting to reveal they've got a concussion."

Pearce was paired with industrial designer Wilson by Samsung's Mixed Talents campaign and the pair have utilized the company's technology in the development of the gear, which also broadcasts alerts to referees and coaches via smart devices.   Continued...

Neuroscientist Alan Pearce wears a protype of a device called a "Brainband" during a demonstration of the thick black headband in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray