Recent studies have revealed that hockey players are at a higher risk of suffering from brain injuries and concussions than previously thought. The repeated impact of hockey pucks and sticks on the head during games can take a toll on players’ brains, leading to serious short-term and long-term health consequences.
It is a well-known fact that concussions can cause temporary loss of normal brain function, and repeated concussions can also lead to serious neurological disorders, such as chronic encephalopathy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Second impact syndrome is a rare but serious complication of a concussion, which can cause the brain to swell rapidly after a second concussion.
Although a direct impact on the head is not required to diagnose a concussion, the impacts of hockey can add up and have health consequences. Even helmets may prove insufficient to protect hockey players from brain injuries, as structural brain damage from concussions can cause long-term consequences.
It is undoubtedly important for hockey players to wear helmets in order to protect their heads, but there is more to be done to ensure the long-term health of these athletes. It is imperative for coaches and team medical staff to closely monitor players for potential head trauma and to take immediate action if a player appears to have suffered a concussion during a game. Only with a comprehensive approach to player safety can we begin to tackle the serious issue of brain injuries and concussions in hockey.
A new ‘Smart Helmet’ may soon be helping coaches get a handle on this issue.
Swiss startup Bearmind is developing a high-tech hockey helmet that detects and reports head injuries.
The helmet contains an inertial measurement unit, pressure sensor, battery, and Bluetooth module, which transmits impact data to an accompanying app on a coach’s smartphone. The app assesses the severity of the impact, compares it to a database of typical brain injuries, and alerts coaches to seek medical attention where necessary.
Bearmind is testing the helmet, which could be expanded to include all the sensing hardware directly into the helmet’s padding, with two hockey teams in Switzerland.
Read more > Smart Hockey Helmet Prevents Brain Trauma
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