Junior ice hockey team, the ‘Saskatoon Blades’, are using helmet mounted sensors at training camp to track the force of ‘on ice’ hits. When a player of the Western Hockey League team gets hit the strength of the impact and where it happened is recorded on a chip and transmitted back to a storage device.
The device was developed by Saskatoon’s Rod Newlove. They will be using these chips in the training camp and the pre-season. This information being collected will be returned to the University of Alberta where a researcher will study the data. The official season will begin in September
Connor Cox, a defenceman on the team said that it was pretty important because a number of players that had concussions last year. So it was pretty important to learn a little bit more about it and to see how much you can take before you get a concussion he added.
16 year old Tommy Stipancik is another defenceman with the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades who is amongst the three team members wearing the cranium impact analyzer. He missed a year of hockey due to post concussion issues but is now symptom free. He said that not playing was tough. He added that the device called Safebrain was a good thing.
The Safebrain measures and logs G-force hits over a pre-determined level, providing early warning if a player takes a shot that could cause a concussion. A flashing LED alerts the team’s trainer Steve Hildebrand. Plus the hit is also logged wirelessly into a laptop computer. Steve Hildebrand said that they did not have the perfect answer for concussions but it was a work in progress, and they are just hoping this is another tool to help them.