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Brain Sentry Introduces Head Hit Count System

Date: 2/6/14


Brain Sentry Introduces Head Hit Count System for Football, Lacrosse, and Hockey Helmets

CEO Greg Merril Says “We Can Protect Kids’ Brains like Pitch Counting Protects Kids’ Arms”

Bethesda, MD, January 24, 2014 – The Brain Sentry Hit Counter™, a 1-oz sensor that easily affixes to the back of a football, hockey or lacrosse helmet, is being introduced for use by youth sports associations, leagues, teams and individual players beginning in fall 2014, it was announced today by Greg Merril, co-founder and CEO, Brain Sentry.

The Brain Sentry Hit Counter provides an opportunity to monitor and limit exposure to head impacts. The first practical, affordable sensor technology available to monitor the number of head impacts; the sensor holds the promise of potentially preventing chronic traumatic brain abnormalities from developing.

Over ten years of published research with instrumented helmets, looking at over two million impacts, has helped establish that the average-sized hit in football is between 20g to 30g. The Brain Sentry Hit Counter counts these average-size and bigger hits.  “It has an integrated LCD character display for two numbers:  the total hits for the past 7 days and the total hits for the year,” said Merril.  “Coaches, athletic trainers and parents can use this data to identify players who should take a time-out.”

Merril explained that this “time-out” approach is similar to the currently mandated rest for baseball pitchers following the successful implementation of pitch counting in Little League Baseball in 2007.  “It only makes sense that we need to protect kids’ brains in the same way that pitch count protects kids’ arms,” said Merril.   

The Brain Sentry Hit Counter also detects and alerts via a bright red LED light unusually big hits (80g or more), a feature that helps identify the athletes who need to be assessed for concussion. 

Dr. Julian Bailes, Medical Director of Pop Warner Football, and concussion advisor to the NCAA, NFLPA, AFL and former team physician for the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers, stated, “Athletes at the collegiate and high school levels sustain a surprisingly high number of head impacts ranging from several hundred to well over 1,000 during the course of a season.  There are athletes in contact sports with no history of concussions but nonetheless have neurodegenerative pathology consistent with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).  The data suggests that repetitive sub-concussive blows can lead to significant neurological alterations.  With the Brain Sentry Hit Counter it is now easy to monitor the number of sub-concussive impacts -- a critical step in dealing with this issue.”

The Brain Sentry Hit Counter was tested by the Louisiana State University (LSU) football program during their 2013 season.  Jack Marucci, LSU’s Head Athletic Trainer said, “We wanted to monitor what kind of hit count we were getting during practice and scrimmages.  Now we know that we are averaging between 11 to 14 hits per practice and the guard and center positions are taking the most hits.  This is valuable information because, like with boxing, there is an issue of microtraumas with the offensive linemen banging and banging over a period of time.  Brain Sentry’s technology helps us improve the way we practice.”

Merril added, “The technology in this little sensor is truly groundbreaking.  This is one of the first commercially available products to integrate a new generation of nano, low- power, digital output high-g microelectromechanical (MEMS) 3-axis linear accelerometers.  The software that we have developed will, within 20 microseconds, determine the direction, peak acceleration, and duration of an impact and determine whether to trigger the alert.  We do all of this in a package that weighs one ounce and costs about $6 per month via our subscription model,”

Significant R&D over two years also focused on usability regarding power management, resulting in a product that requires no battery charging.  Once affixed to a helmet, the Brain Sentry Hit Counter requires zero effort to use, a critical factor for youth sports with volunteer parent coaches and limited medical supervision.

Launched in 2013, Brain Sentry’s initial focus is on reducing traumatic brain injury for the three most popular helmeted contact sports: football, hockey and lacrosse.  The company’s new Hit Counter will expand the role of Brain Sentry’s technology – initially focused on reducing catastrophic brain injury through Second Impact Syndrome, or “SIS,” – to help identify players who have experienced unacceptable numbers of subconcussive impacts, thereby also providing an opportunity to reduce the onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (“CTE”). 

About Brain Sentry:

Brain Sentry is privately held and headquartered in Bethesda, MD.  The company was founded by a team of award-winning health-related product developers. Brain Sentry sensors are made in the U.S. and the company has a simple goal: to stop lives from being devastated by sports-related brain injuries.  Learn more at www.brainsentry.com.




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