/// Wearable Sensors Could Be an Antidote to Football’s Concussion Problem

November 25, 2013  |  All Things Digital


It’s become clear that the biggest risk to the future of the multibillion-dollar football industry is the high-impact sport’s propensity for giving its athletes concussions. There have already been 29 football-related deaths in 2013, 16 of them attributed to brain injuries. After being blamed for years of denial , the National Football League has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate former players with brain injuries and to fund research, and it’s also working to change the rules of the game. And at the other end of the spectrum, American youth football enrollment is dropping , with parents citing the risk of concussions as the reason they aren’t signing up their kids. So why is this a tech story? One way to manage risks and concerns is to get better data about them, and some companies are producing wearable devices that measure players’ brain activity during games. The leader seems to be a Seattle-based startup named X2 Biosystems , which just reached a deal to make its systems mandatory for all 32 NFL teams, after a pilot test. X2 benchmarks athlete’s brains so coaches and staff can better determine when they are ready to re-enter the game after a concussion. At the most basic level, X2 offers an iOS app for tracking measurements of brain activity, coordination and balance throughout the season. And some pro teams are already using X2′s stick-on patch, which measures six different axes of acceleration and communicates the data wirelessly while an athlete is playing. After head impact, players are retested and monitored until they have met a standard safe for them to return to the sport. What with wearable, connected sensors being just about the hottest thing in tech right now, X2 has attracted some crossover investors from the Internet sphere. MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe is part of a group of angel investors who have put $9 million into the company, and he recently joined its board amid further fundraising efforts. DeWolfe is now CEO of Social Gaming Networks, and said his fellow MySpace co-founder and SGN COO Colin Digiaro has also invested in X2. “This is one of the world’s big problems,” DeWolfe said in an interview last week, noting that everyone he talks to can think of an example of a kid who got a concussion playing sports

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Wearable Sensors Could Be an Antidote to Football’s Concussion Problem


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