NFL teams trial mouth-guard sensors to gather insights on head injuries

THE NFL has been trialing the league's new impact-monitoring mouth guards and cleat-tracking technology during training camps and preseason games in a bid to find data insights that can help reduce the risk of injury.

Four teams are understood to be using the mouth-guard sensor technology to monitor the severity and location of head impacts during matches and training scrimmages and drills.

The NFL's executive vice-president of health and safety Jeff Miller said: The goal of it is to validate the program to make sure that the sensors work, that theyre transmitting the data appropriately, that were collecting the data, that we can make sense of the data, that player acceptance is real. Thats a lot of variables that were looking at now. Its a pilot program in the truest sense of the word.

SportsTechie report that the work has been spearheaded by the leaders of the University of Virginias Center for Applied Biomechanicsdirector Jeff Crandall and deputy Richard Kentthrough their Biocore consulting lab in Charlottesville and done in collaboration with NFLPA-affiliated consultants such as Kristy Arbogast, the director of engineering for the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. 

Concussion prevention is a major priority for the NFL but they are also looking to gain a better understanding of leg injuries with use of RFID tags in the player's cleats.Players from eight teams have been using the tags to look at footwear design, playing surfaces and player movement to how those might correlate with injury rates, with major and minor muscle tears and bone fractures the main cause of players missing games.

The other 24 teams have been asked to manually log footwear selections, with the plan is to expand the RFID program across all 32 teams next season.  Both pilot programs are part of the NFL's $60 million Engineering Roadmap to develop research and technology to make the sport safer and are being conducted in conjunction with the NFL Players Association.