New York — As concerns grow about the safety of youth and high school football, people across the country are looking for potential solutions.
Two ideas are being developed here in the Tri-State area.A local league changes the rules of the game, and a team of researchers is trying to develop a detection method concussion in real time.
read more: Tri-State Area Considering Youth Sports Baseline Concussion Testing
When it comes to concussion protocols, we’re now at a game-changing solution.
The Riverdale Country School Falcons’ recent game in the Bronx may have looked like any other high school football game.
However, the team made a few noises and stole the kickoff.
That’s right – not just the Falcons, but the entire Metropolitan Independent Football League scrapped what many fans consider to be one of the most exciting moments in the game.
Riverdale Athletic Director Jon Pizzi said the team instead started the drive at the 35-yard line like a touchback.
“I think I was a little skeptical at first, but now it’s the norm,” Pizzi said.
According to Pizzi, the idea started years ago when Riverdale was plagued with injuries, including several concussions.
“Normally special teams is where a lot of injuries happen,” Pizzi said.
A 2015 study found that kickoffs during Ivy League games account for only 6% of all plays, but 21% of concussions occur.
Riverdale tackled the same problem and worked with a nonprofit called the Concussion Legacy Foundation to brainstorm solutions. They settled on a league-wide no-kickoff rule and a limit on live contact during regular season practices, i.e. no more than 15 minutes a day.
According to the league, the average number of concussions per team has dropped from 2.4 per team in 2019 to 1.6 in 2021 when new rules are introduced.
“I think we’ve taken some big steps as a league and as a school to provide a really safe environment for our students,” Pizzi said.
However, some studies have shown that about half of concussions go unreported or go undetected, so it is difficult to know the exact number.
So professors at Columbia University are working on a device that could help detect brain damage in real time.
“What we really want to achieve is the ability to keep the brain safe,” said Dr. James Noble.
According to Noble, when the device is attached to the helmet, it creates something called brain waves. Simply put, it’s a tool that shows doctors what’s going on in the brain.
As soon as CBS2’s Tim McNicholas put on the helmet, brain activity began to be sent to the tablet.
The tool is still in development, but the team has high hopes for it.
“So someone on the sidelines can call and pull them out and get the treatment they need,” said Dr Barclay Morrison.
The researchers founded a company called NoMo Diagnostics. Ultimately, we hope to partner with a helmet manufacturer.
Currently, they expect each device to cost around $400, which doesn’t include the cost of attaching the helmet. With many teams already paying over $400, NoMo Diagnostics hopes to bring that number down eventually. helmet, and over $900 to fully equip the player.
Harald Steltzer, co-founder, president and CEO of NoMo Diagnostics, said:
If they hit the mark line, they could be yet another tool for safety-concerned schools to consider.
The Metropolitan Independent Football League says the no-kickoff rule will return next season.