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08/01/2012

Army helmet sensors to monitor traumatic brain pounding -- in the NFL

Football helmetsThe U.S. Army uses helmet sensors to measure the impact to a soldier’s head after a concussive event, like an explosion.

So, it's only natural the National Football League wants in on Solider helmet that action.

While gridiron warriors aren’t actually engaged in combat with firearms (for the most part; Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain was recently sentenced for holding a gun to man’s head and firing a shot by his ear) the NFL wants the technology in its player’s helmets.

The helmets would use sensors that evaluate concussive events that could lead to traumatic brain injury, the Armed With Science blog for the Department of Defense reports.

Apparently, the NFL and the Army meet occasionally to swap information on brain injuries and treatment tactics. Lt. Col. Frank Lozano, product manager of soldier protection said head injuries suffered by football players are similar to those suffered by soldiers.

Steve Young concussion 1999What took us by surprise was this quote: “A lot of soldiers are football fans and a lot of football players and teams in the NFL are large supporters of the armed forces,” he said. “So it’s kind of a natural fit.”

Really? That’s the rationale? If only the National Dodgeball League (apparently real) were more on people’s radars, who knows what kind of help those elite players could receive when getting smacked in the noggin by a red ball.

The blog also reports that 58 percent of the more than 2,000 documented cases of brain injuries are Simulated rescue Army soldiers. So far, 45,000 sensor helmets have been ordered for troops, but only about 10,000 helmets have been delivered to troops. (Note: Photo (right) is a simulated rescue operation.)

Just to be clear, as George Carlin pointed out in his classic routine about football vs. baseball, the pigskin is an instrument of war:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! – I hope I’ll be safe at home!

Finally, your downer of the day: The clip (below) from an NFL exhibition game that left Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley paralyzed. He died in 2007.

-- Darren Barbee

 

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Soldiers are heroes!

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