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Open Call for NTN Innovation Booster on Concussion | Wanted: Researchers, start-ups and experts

Following a successful first kick-off meeting of the NTN Innovation Booster on Concussion in Sport on 15 June, the second ideation session dedicated to this important topic is scheduled for 20 July in Lausanne. In focus: the feasibility of and technical requirements for the initial ideas explored on preventing and assessing concussions in ice hockey.

This open call for participation targets researchers, start-ups and other experts who can help to tackle one or more of the following questions:

  • How to diagnose a concussion on the field of play (black and white assessment) and with which technology? This could includes metrics such as a heart rate variability, EEG, near-infrared imaging, biomarkers, sweat, saliva, etc.
  • How to diagnose a concussion based on brain imagery?
  • How to model the strain in brain tissues based on the kinematics of an impact?
  • Is there a camera-based analysis of an ice hockey game (e.g. segmentation of the game, statistics)?
  • Is there a solution to perform daily cognitive assessment? (e.g. via an app, questionnaire)
  • Is there a camera/device to carry out on-field evaluation of concussions based on a set of movements?

Apply here until 12 July 2021 to help drive this important innovation challenge!

A third ideation session, widening the focus on other sports, is foreseen for end of August or September.

Background information

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), commonly referred to as concussions, are an important public health concern. The sports world is also impacted, with athletes being exposed to important health risks. 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. 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.

The first ideation session organised on 15 June served to discuss how such a solution could be used by the stakeholders to minimise the risks of concussion for hockey players. Brainstorming was organised in different formats and allowed for different angles thanks to a great mix of people representing the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation, the Swiss Ice Hockey Players’ Union, professional players, Lausanne 2020 organisers,  medical experts and support staff, sport lawyers, team managers and students.

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