Wednesday, February 22, 2012

One Smart Kid

Imagine my surprise, when watching the latest episode of An Idiot Abroad on-demand this afternoon, there was a Discovery Channel promo for the Discovery Education/3M -- Young Scientist ChallengeIt just proves what a person might stand to actually learn while being entertained by an idiot (I love that show)! 

One of the kids profiled in the promo was 2011 winner Braeden Benedict who developed a "concussion sensor" for football helmets to help coaches and assistants gauge the severity of a hit to determine if a player may have suffered a concussion. This is really brilliant for a 14-year-old. It would mean that head injuries could possibly be detected on the field, which would mean that measures could be taken right away, hopefully preventing further impact and taking the guess-work out of whether or not a player should be allowed to continue to play that day. According to the brief bio, Braeden, who is a football player, was inspired to pursue this discovery after a friend and teammate of his had incurred a serious concussion while playing football, leaving him with some long-term, irreversible complications.

Here is a link to the entry video where he describes his creation.

As someone who is highly concerned with helmet safety and the prevention of head injuries, I was fascinated by this. Could this device also make its way into the world of riding helmet function and design? Perhaps. It would certainly be less distracting and more undetectable to a rider than a helmet cam, but with a much more valuable purpose (no offense to helmet cam wearers....I love the helmet cam videos). It looks as though it can even be placed onto an existing helmet, without any complicated methods of strapping or fastening. I am intrigued by this invention and I will be anxious to see if this development makes it to the mainstream marketplace. I'd hate to see such an innovative and potentially important discovery be overlooked or written off as a clever science fair project end right there and go no further. Regardless of the widespread potential of the sensor, good for you, Braeden, for your ingenuity and your conscientiousness regarding a topic (traumatic brain injury) that should always be taken very seriously. At least he is out there trying to find a way to do more.

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