After using a new concussion prevention technology this football season a North Vancouver high school team reported zero concussions, according to the researcher who developed the technology.
Handsworth Secondary was one of two B.C. high schools that got a trial run of using BrainShield, sticker-like decals that are attached to both sides of a football helmet and reduce the force of an impact.
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"They said that unlike other seasons they received no report of concussion for the team," said Daniel Abram, a researcher at Simon Fraser University and the chief technology and operating officer of Vancouver start-up Shield-X Technology.
Layers reduce head rotation
Abram spent six years developing the patent-pending product, which has micro-engineered layers that slide underneath each other on impact.
"The layers, they don't allow the force to be fully applied … because the layers they don't allow that force to catch on the outer shell of the helmet," he said.
"That way it reduces the sharp twisting of the brain."
When asked how much of Handsworth Secondary's results are due to the technology, and how much is due to the players being more careful on the field, Abram said it was likely both.
"It's just like you would like to have the safest car, but that doesn't mean you should drive recklessly," he said.
"We always tell the players and coaches that, 'Okay this is the technology, this is the way it works, but it doesn't mean that now players can feel they are safer and can [play with] even more contact.'"
Abram's company tested out an earlier version of BrainShield in 2014 with Simon Fraser University's football team.
The decals can be put on any helmet and need to be replaced after a year. They are priced at $50 for a pair.
He hopes to have more high school teams involved next season, and to also develop the technology for bicycle helmets.
To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: High school football team reports zero concussions after trying new concussion prevention technology.