February 28, 2017 >
by: Alison Grande Updated:
An Eastside company is working to address the issue of concussions in sports.
Athlete Intelligence, a Kirkland business, created the Vector MouthGuard that can measure the impact for football players and warn coaches if a player takes an excessive hit.
Now that same company is creating technology that can be used reduce concussion risk in any sport, no mouth guard or helmet required.
It is called the Cue Sport Sensor and it’s a plastic square about the size of a quarter. It can be attached to the head with a headband so it can be used in all sports, not just those which use a helmet.
Cue sends alerts to the coach on a smart phone or watch if a player takes an excessive hit.
The software program can keep track of the intensity of the hits to the head and do a 3D map of where they occur. The hope is the Cue can alert coaches to pull players aside and check them if they experience a strong impact. It can also be used to help study which plays seem to cause the biggest head injuries and to work to avoid them.
“The opportunity for injury is great in all those sports,” said Jesse Harper, the CEO of Athlete Intelligence. “What we need to do is mitigate it where we can.
“Parents get really, really excited about the safety elements of it because we all want to know if we put our player on the field we want to get that same, or better, player back.”
After football, women’s soccer has second highest number of sports-related concussions in the NCAA
The Cue will also have the ability to measure athletic performance.
“We’re adding performance measurements to it, so in addition to all of that we’re also going to tell you how fast they ran, how far they ran, acceleration, deceleration and all of that,” Harper said.
Athlete Intelligence worked with the University of Washington football program to develop the Vector mouth guard. The Vector technology evolved into the Cue Sport Sensor. Rob Scheidegger is the head athletic trainer for Husky football and likes the versatility of the Cue.
“The idea of being able to place it up in the helmet or a patch you could attach to an athlete are interesting to us for various reasons,” said Scheidegger.
“Obviously there’s no way to prevent concussions, but if we learn more about this injury and its causes, maybe we can get to a point where we can take action to decrease incidents of injury.”