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INNOVATE SHARE CONNECT INSPIRE

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Open Call: Apply now for participation in the NTN Innovation Booster on Concussion

Experts and interested parties in the field of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in sport are invited to apply now for participation in the dedicated NTN Innovation Booster (NTN-IB) powered by Innosuisse, aimed at finding innovative solutions to enhance athletes’ safety and minimise health risks. The first physical kick-off meeting to explore and contextualise this innovation challenge will take place on 15 June in Lausanne. Two more dedicated sessions will be organised during the month of July.

Apply here until 7 June 2021 to become part of this important innovation challenge, which will address the following questions:

  • How to integrate best new technology to detect and evaluate TBIs during sport practice into a solution for a specific sport?
  • In what form (helmet, other body protections) should such system be integrated to be accepted by the athletes while ensuring the necessary medical accuracy?
  • Through which channel should the solution be distributed to the athletes (athletes themselves, clubs, equipment manufacturer, etc.) and what is the financial mechanism to cover the costs?
  • How to extend the technology to other sports?


Context

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), commonly referred to as concussions, are an important public health concern. The sports world is also concerned, with athletes being exposed to health risks and sport governing bodies to financial and reputational harm due to potential legal proceedings being filed against them. An estimated 1.6 million to 3.8 million sport- and recreation-related TBIs occur annually in the United States alone. Concussive injuries constitute 8.9% of all high school and 5.8% of all collegiate athletic injuries.

However, evidence suggests that the true scope of the problem is likely to be underestimated as TBIs often go unrecognised and thus unreported. Symptoms and signs of TBIs can be difficult to detect and may remain unnoticed for days or months after the injury. Concussions leading to a loss of consciousness account for only 8% to 19.2% of sports related TBIs, leaving health impacts often unnoticed. The most common symptoms are a headache (94.7%), dizziness (74.8%) and concentration difficulties (68%), but the natural course of TBI is unknown.

Hence, the lack of an in-game TBI evaluation system constitutes a genuine danger for athletes; by continuing to practise sport instead of resting, they expose their brains to subsequent head impacts and potential long-term brain trauma. Recent improvement in wearable technology, developed in Switzerland, could provide a solution to monitor and characterise head impacts in real-world conditions. Such a technology could help players, medical personnel, and sport governing bodies to enhance safety by improving the detection, evaluation, and overall management of TBIs. Moreover, if the kinematics of concussive injury are elucidated, medical experts and engineers may be able to advise improvements to protective equipment or rule changes to mitigate the risk of concussion.

Want to learn more about the nature and aims of the NTN Innovation Booster? Click here!

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