NFL teams may be using head impact sensors by 2015

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

As head injuries in the NFL have caused safety to be enforced now more than ever, so too has the study of how to better diagnose and prevent these traumatic injuries.

In an effort to help better diagnose when a head injury may have occurred, the NFL is working to implement sensors into players' helmets.

A report by USA Today's Tom Pelissero suggests the NFL will have these fully implemented by 2015, and several teams have already began testing this hardware.

Kevin Guskiewicz, a University of North Carolina researcher who's a member of league and union safety committees, told USA TODAY Sports two companies are "fine-tuning" their head accelerometer devices based on researchers' feedback in anticipation of wider deployment this fall, with expansion to all 32 teams possible as soon as 2015.

"We need a sample of these players across all positions and studying every play type possible," said Guskiewicz, who has been a member of the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the NFL Players Association's Mackey-White Committee since 2010.

"So, that's the next step. Then I hope from there that, if we find (the devices) have utility that could actually help an individual player … my hope would be that we would go league-wide. We've done a lot of validation work over the past 18 to 24 months using some of these devices.

"It's really important that we know what the information is telling us and how to interpret it and how we can provide meaningful data back to the player, the athletic trainer or the team physician, the strength and conditioning coach, whoever that may be."

Anything that can help increase player safety is a welcome addition. NFL head injuries are threatening the future of the sport as we know it, and just being able to study them better could help increase player safety without sacrificing so much that the game looks like flag football in the future.

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