Football, popular as it is, has caused many, many injuries over its existence, not the least of which are very serious life-altering damage to players’ brains. Great strides have been taken to reduce or prevent these head trauma incidents, and the latest among them is BrainShield, a helmet decal that is designed to prevent brain injuries from happening altogether. The decal works by diverting the force of the impact.
The decal was created by researchers located as Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus, according to a statement from the institution. The decal is designed to lessen the instances of “sharp twisting and compression” that can happen to a player’s brain when the helmet is impacted. This takes current helmet technology a step further, progressing from monitoring for damage to preventing it altogether.
BrainShield spent six years in R&D, and in its present form weighs about 12 grams; it has a layer that allows it to be stuck onto the surface of a football helmet like a sticker. It works by lessening the amount of friction from whatever is impacting the helmet, whether it’s another helmet or a different object. This decreases the amount the player’s head rotates, and thusly the possible injury.
In addition to lessening the rotation, the decal also works to spread the impact’s force across a larger area, which lowers the amount of brain compression experienced. The device was the subject of a study that took place in 2014 with the university’s own football team, which saw its instances of concussions drop from 14 to 4. The decal is now being tested with a pair of high school football teams.
SOURCE: Simon Fraser University