For the past several years, preventing brain injury for football players has been a top priority for many organizations around the country – from high schools, to colleges, to the NFL.
Now, a new helmet technology invented by a Texas Tech University student may be able to help prevent concussions in players by mimicking the way a Woodpecker’s brain is protected from repeated hits to the head
Alberto Garcia has been working on this technology since he was just 15 years old. While playing high school football he suffered a concussion and was told he wouldn’t be able to play any more. The disappointment of this drove him to further develop his idea.
Alberto Garcia’s football helmet and shoulder-pad system protects the brain the same way a Woodpecker’s brain is protected from repeated hits to the head.
“I was 15, a sophomore in high school, when I started this project — I knew what materials I needed, but didn’t know how to build it or code it just yet,” said Garcia.
Garcia’s initial idea was sparked by observing certain animal behaviors. He noticed that woodpeckers and long-horned rams suffer repeated blows to the head on a daily basis, but never sustain a brain injury. Why is that?
As it turns out, it’s because these animals have natural stabilizers in their necks. The stabilizers prevent their head from quickly whipping back and forth when they’re banging their head against something.
Humans lack these stabilizers, which causes us to suffer whiplash upon a hard hit to the head and contributes to brain damage.
While it’s still in the testing phase, Garcia’s helmet system could be a literal game-changer for football. If the technology is adopted and refined by schools and professional organizations, it could even save lives.
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