Rattlers using sensors to detect possible concussions - FOX 35 News Orlando

Rattlers using sensors to detect possible concussions

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Every day 138 people in the United States die from traumatic brain injuries. That's according to the Center for Disease control, some of them from playing sports.

Concussions on the playing field have become a major safety issue at all levels, especially in football.

But now there are new tools to help detect concussions. One such device, called a "Brain Sentry," is being used by pro football players here in the valley.

Not by the Arizona Cardinals, but by the arena league champs the Arizona Rattlers.

"Anytime you err on the side of player safety I think that's a good thing,"said Rattlers Coach Kevin Guy.

Back in June, the Arena Football League became the first professional sports league to mandate sensors on the helmets of all of it's players.

The Arizona Rattlers have them, small sensors that detect impacts attach to the back of the helmet, the sensor is called the "Brain Sentry."

"This is a Brain Sentry impact sensor. The way it works is, it sticks on the back of the helmet, it's water-proof, and it's an accelerometer," said Sean McMannes.

Sean McMannes is the head athletic trainer for the team. He's on the sideline of every game watching, among other things, for any signs of player concussions.

"When this helmet receives an impact the light changes from green to red," said McMannes.

The Brain Sentry flashes red when a player receives a hit strong enough for a concussion to occur. It also keeps track of how many hard hits a player receives over a season.

"If it flashes red you know there is an impact, you need to keep an eye on that player and evaluate him for a possible concussion," he said.

There have been false alarms. "Every once in a while we have a player who drops a helmet, or throws a helmet, and you are going to get a false positive," said McMannes.

And according to Rattlers Head Coach Kevin Guy, the device hasn't detected a concussion among any Rattlers yet this season.

"So far we haven't had to pull anybody out of the game because the light went off," said Guy.

But concussions remain a serious concern for football players; young and old. There have been serious injuries in just about every level.

The AFL made its announcement about Brain Sentry one day after the NFL was forced by a Federal Judge to remove a $675 million dollar cap in a class action lawsuit by thousands of former players with concussion related injuries.

"It's not going to stop you from getting a concussion if it happens, but anytime you can try to collect as much information as you possibly can, the more information that you have the better decisions you can make," he said.

"It's a work in progress, but it's better than doing nothing," said Guy.

Brain Sentry has more than 4,000 devices in use around the United States. The Rattlers will get to keep theirs for at least one more game after the defeat of the Portland Thunder yesterday in Phoenix 52 to 48. Now the team heads to the National Conference Championships where they will face the San Jose Sabercats next Sunday.
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