Helmets That Study Head-on Collisions

Brown University football players are wearing special helmets to measure collision impact.

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Why research the brains of lab rats when you can study those of football players? This fall, 63 members of the Brown University football team are using helmets with built-in sensors that measure collision impact, the Brown Daily Herald reports. These specially designed helmets are also being used by football teams at Dartmouth College and Virginia Tech in conjunction with a $3.6 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers are using the data, which include information on head acceleration, location, and direction at the moment of impact, to determine whether players sustained a concussion and to prevent future concussions from happening.

Such specially designed helmets sell for $999. Still, a linebacker says they're worth it: "You can't really put a price tag on using your brain for the rest of your life." Agreed. But isn't it really less about the price of the helmet than the price of playing the game?