A new multimedia effort from ESPN combines stories, video and graphics to show how technological innovators are working to make football a safer sport.
Photo by Eagle102.net via Flickr
Patrick Dorsey looks at one of the biggest health issues facing football players today, especially those in high school, writing about the continuing evolution of concussion diagnosis, prevention and treatment. Dorsey takes a look at advances in equipment, like a new $350 helmet that uses airbag-style padding to soften the blows taken by players’ heads, and in medicine. On the medical front, many schools now give students a pre-season test to establish their baseline mental function, then test them again after a suspected concussion and only allow them to play again once their brain is working normally once more.
Matt Winklejohn tackles another threat to football players’ health: the heat. Promising advances have produced sensors that measure the temperature inside each player’s helmet and wire the results to a handheld computer on the sidelines, shoulder pads that can be air-conditioned during breaks in practice and even a thermometer built into a pill athletes can swallow in order to monitor their internal core temperature, Winklejohn writes.
Relevant ESPN videos
Football Tech: Helmets
Football Tech: Shoulder Pads
Football Tech: Performance Gear
Relevant ESPN graphics
ZOOM Gallery: The evolution of football gear
Crosshairs: The world of football technology
Find a primer on reporting on the health of student athletes and links to a number of articles, tip sheets, journal articles and other resources in AHCJ’s new “Reporting on sports injuries in school-age children” tip sheet and “Concussions in young athletes.”
- Computer software used to evaluate sports concussions
- Former NFL players still taking hits
- NFL’s concussions expert sells equipment to league
- Football players hide concussions; increasing risk of injury, death
- Athletes to donate brains to concussion research
- High school players at risk of ‘second-impact syndrome’
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