Streams

A Sensor that Could Change the Way Kids Play Football

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First there were pads and helmets. Now, there are blinking lights.

The latest technology for protecting football players is a device called Checklight, which measures and displays the force of head impacts players experience when they make a tackle or take a hit.

Designed by Boston tech firm MC10 in partnership with Reebok, Checklight is a small tab connected to a form-fitting cap that players wear under their helmets. The tab hangs on the back of the neck and blinks red when a players takes a severe hit to the head. 

The device also collects data, like the number of hits a player takes. It could help players change their behavior on the field in order to avoid concussions and other head trauma. 

"For example, in a practice, if you're constantly doing a tackling or blocking drill and the lights are always going off, that’s a good sign that your technique is probably not as good as it could be," says Bob Rich, director of research and engineering at Reebok.

Checklight does not diagnose concussions, but it can tell coaches if a player might be at risk after a serious wallop. 

Produced by:

Andrew Dunn, Topher Forhecz, Alex Goldmark and Daniel P. Tucker

Editors:

Charlie Herman

Contributors:

Tracey Samuelson

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