(WFLX) - Heads up! Parents, if you have a child who plays sports, listen up! Every year, 135,000 kids get a concussion on the playing field.
That makes sports the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury, next to car crashes, which tops the list. If kids get back into the game too soon, the results can be deadly. Now, researchers are testing a new way to detect concussions.
In an instant, an athlete is taken down! It's just not a hard hit. It's a brain injury. "It was a bad hop, and it came up under the nose," said Amanda Borlin.
Second baseman-Borlin was benched for several games after taking a softball to the nose— "Mentally, I was a little off. I just felt really tired, really exhausted," Borlin recalled.
She's not alone. According to a study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy, between 2005 and 2008, 41 percent of high school athletes returned to the field too soon after an injury.
That's why neurological surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic used engineering to develop an intelligent mouth-guard that can detect brain injuries the instant a player is hit.
"The mouth guard is designed to monitor the energy that's imparted to the brain followed by a head injury of any kind," Edward Benzel, M.D., an Neurological Surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, explained.
The mouth guard uses the same miniature sensors that are in your cell phones.
"These are existing mems sensor. This sort of sensor is in the iPhone or Wii that let's you change position or go bowling," Adam Bartsch, an engineer and Ph.D. candidate at the Cleveland Clinic, said.
Bluetooth technology wirelessly transmits information to a nearby computer.
"This is showing us the angular velocity of the head, and it could show internal brain motion," Bartsch explained. A simple mouth-guard that could change the game. If this happens, you'll know whether your little guy should get back in the game or should get help.
The cost for this intelligent mouth guard is less than $2.
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic believe it could not only be used in sports, but also in war situations, as well, to monitor soldiers in the field.