For youth athletes or college football players in San Diego County, it is important to understand the potentially hazardous effects of enduring a hit to the head during practice or play. A sports-related concussion can lead to long-term consequences, and may impact the likelihood of the player developing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) later in life. While we know that mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) like concussions can have serious effects, we still do not know precisely how a hit to the head impacts a player’s brain at the time of the hit. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, a newly developed mouth guard with motion sensors may help to clarify the process of sustaining a concussion.
What Happens to a Brain After a Hit to the Head?
As the article clarifies, the information researchers have used primarily in determining what happens to a brain during a hit to the head has been acquired through helmets that have sensors in them. However, this technique has proven to be somewhat problematic because “the helmet can move independently of the skull.” According to Dr. Robert Cantu, a clinical professor of neurosurgery at Boston University’s School of Medicine, “the forces you’re measuring with those are not really exactly what the brain is seeing.” As such there was an urgent need to develop a new kind of technology that could more accurately record the effects of a hit to the head on a player’s skull.