There are approximately 300,000 sports related traumatic brain injuries every year resulting in loss of consciousness. Studies have shown that only about 8-19 percent of sports related traumatic brain injuries result in loss of consciousness meaning there are approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million sports related traumatic brain injuries in the United States each year. Many of these are not treated by a health care provider. Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years are more likely to sustain a traumatic brain injury than other age groups in part due to sporting activities such as football, hockey, and soccer. Traumatic brain injuries can lead to long term disabilities and even death, especially if not properly treated. In a given year, 3.6 percent to 5.6 percent of the 1.2 million interscholastic football athletes sustain concussions Only about half of high school football players reported their injury after sustaining a minor concussion. Unreported concussions are often left untreated and have an increased potential to become more serious injuries than those receiving prompt medical assessment. Previous helmet based systems have successfully used inertial data to predict possible injury. These systems are expensive and only work with helmeted sports. The proposed system will gather inertial data using an advanced mouthpiece and transmit it to the sideline for assessment of possible injury. Since this system does not require a helmet, it can be used with other sports such as soccer, basketball and baseball in addition to football, hockey, and lacrosse. While football has the highest rate of concussion, basketball, soccer, and baseball combined have historically had a higher number of emergency department visits amongst adolescents. The design goals of the system will include ease of use and low cost to target adolescent athletes. Adolescent athletes are particularly vulnerable to this type of injury due to their continued brain development and reduced strength in their neck.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed program seeks to develop a system that identifies athletes who may have sustained a mild traumatic brain injury while participating in a sporting event. Early injury detection allows for rapid care and optimal medical services.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-ETTN-K (10))
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Fertig, Stephanie
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Advanced Medical Electronics Corporation
Maple Grove
United States
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Hedin, Daniel S; Gibson, Paul L; Bartsch, Adam J et al. (2016) Development of a head impact monitoring ""Intelligent Mouthguard"". Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2016:2007-2009