While football's rules have been undergoing changes to help prevent concussions and head shots, medical staffs around the country are also working on more efficient ways to identify concussions.
One exciting development at the University of Nebraska could allow a team's medical staff to determine if a player has a concussion within ten minutes of violent contact.
At the school's Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3), director Dennis Molfese says experts are putting the finishing the touches on an electrode-covered mesh cap that can act as a functional MRI on football sidelines and elsewhere. The hope is that the cap will allow a team's medical staff to analyze the player's brain waves and determine if he sustained a concussion and the severity.
"There's no question it's going to move the dial forward," NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline told the Associated Press. "The big, hoped-for dream would be, let's have a biomarker in brain imagine. If you're to the left of that, you're safe; if you're to the right of it, you're not. That's probably a few years out. But functional brain imaging and blood flow are going to be a very important part of that."
While the mesh cap would be a big step forward, Molfese hopes that the CB3 will continue to develop groundbreaking tools for the prevention and treatment of concussions.
"There has been great concussion research that's been going on for decades," Molfese said. "It's disconcerting to realize just how little we really know."
The device should be ready for use "within one to two years," and eventually could spread to other areas of healthcare.