The Sacred Heart University men’s lacrosse team is participating in a school study on concussions and their effects on the brain.
The athletes are taking hard hits protected by typical gear but outfitted with one tiny exception that’s making a huge impact: accelerometers in the team’s helmets.
These sensors detect the amount of impact in G’s, or standard gravity acceleration, a player receives when hit by a ball, stick, another player or the ground.
“It’s a very hot topic right now, as it should be,” said Professor Theresa Miyashita, who is heading up the concussion study. “Every day new research is being done constantly so what we previuosly thought as the norm is no longer the fact.”
Players will be wearing these sensors in their helmets for the entire season, both in practice and games. The information received from the sensors is then uploaded and analyzed by a university research team.
Along with this data, a number of other variables will be measured: neuro-cognitive function, IQ scores, depression, drug and alcohol dependency, and concussion injuries.
The players were all baseline tested and will be given a post-test when the season is complete.
Some of the guys on the team have looked at their data and realized they had concussions and didn’t even know it.
Senior Jared Carrier said he feels privileged to be a part of this groundbreaking research.
“You see the big deal withe NFL. No one has done it with lacrosse, so to be the first is pretty cool,” he said.
Coach Jonathan Basti calls it an opportunity to help the athletic community as a whole.
“It gives us an opportunity to help other people, help ourselves, but then help the athletic community,” Coach Basti said. “Who knows? Maybe this study helps an NFL player 10 years down the line prolong his career and gives him a better opportunity to be successful after his career because of what they’re learning from our study. If we can do that, we’re honored and privileged.