The Arizona State University football team is taking part in a groundbreaking concussion study in conjunction with TGen and Riddell. (Source: CBS 5 News)
"A lot of the guys really wanted to do it and take part in it because they thought it was important research," ASU Head Athletic Trainer Bill Martin said. (Source: CBS 5 News)
TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -
The Arizona State University football team is taking part in a groundbreaking concussion study in conjunction with TGen, a Phoenix-based genomics research group, and Riddell, a sports equipment manufacturer.
"This is the first study of its kind at the collegiate level," ASU Head Athletic Trainer Bill Martin said.
Martin is helping to oversee what's called the sideline response system, often called SRS. Six sensors are integrated into the helmets of 36 ASU football players.
"With the impact to the helmet, it sends information to a database, a computer program that analyzes the data as far as the nature of the hit, the force and how hard it was," Martin said.
A team of scientists, including TGen's Clinical Research Coordinator April Allen, are right with the team whenever players put those helmets on.
"We are measuring every impact they're taking," Allen said.
Allen and her team deploy equipment on the sidelines that captures the data from the SRS. But that's only one aspect of the study. TGen researchers are collecting blood, saliva and urine samples from the participating players.
The goal is to see if there are molecular changes within those bodily fluids that coincide with a hard cranial impact.
"Coach (Todd) Graham has been so supportive in allowing us to be there on his sidelines when he has such a difficult job to do," Allen said.
"A lot of the guys really wanted to do it and take part in it because they thought it was important research," Martin said.
The thought is that if the research shows a molecular change in, say, a player's saliva after a hard hit, perhaps scientists could develop a mouth guard that changes color to alert a player and coaches of a substantial head injury.
"I think its going to help with the prevention, management and recovery of concussions as well as developing new technologies," Martin said.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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