New Australian wearable tech tracks concussion impacts in real time

Global Business

New Australian wearable tech tracks concussion impacts in real time

Australian researchers hope a new portable head monitor will change the way sports deal with concussions.

It’s a subject contact sports around the world continue to struggle with, including the NFL which recently acknowledged a link between football related concussions and brain damage.

CCTV’s Greg Navarro reports.

New Australian wearable tech tracks concussion impacts in real time

New Australian wearable tech tracks concussion impacts in real time

Australian researchers hope a new portable head monitor will change the way sports deal with concussions. It’s a subject contact sports around the world continue to struggle with, including the NFL which recently acknowledged a link between football related concussions and brain damage. CCTV’s Greg Navarro reports.

The price former National Rugby League player Mario Fenech  paid for playing 15 seasons in Australia’s NRL didn’t become apparent until after he retired.

“I knew something was wrong, my memory was atrocious, I used to forget things and mate, I was only a young man when you look at it so I thought, ‘wow, I need help here’,” he said.

The 53-year-old was diagnosed with brain damage, the result of numerous hits to the head during his elite career.

Australian researchers created the Brainband – a wearable technology that can track the impact to the head in real-time.

“What we are bringing to this is the ability to measure and manage concussion or impacts in sport,” industrial designer Braden Wilson said. “Currently, it’s an ambiguous decision made by people who may have different motives to keep a player on the field or whatever but this allows us to have very tangible metrics around making a decision.”

That means the hit on the field is immediately analysed, the information sent through an app to the sidelines here where coaches, medical staff, and the referee can all make a more objective decision about whether that player should remain on the field.

There has been an increased focus on concussion in contact sports that was in part popularised by the Hollywood film by the same name.

The movie is based on the real life story of the doctor who tried to convince the NFL about a link between repeated head blows and degenerative brain disorders.

Earlier in March, an NFL executive appearing before Congress made this admission.

Despite the sleek design — and backing of some high profile Australian athletes — the Brainband’s creators know they face obstacles.