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New University of Wisconsin football mouth guards potentially preventing concussions thanks to partnership with the NFL

The University of Wisconsin has partnered with the NFL for a unique research study that uses...
The University of Wisconsin has partnered with the NFL for a unique research study that uses special mouth guards to track Wisconsin Badgers’ head and neck movements during games.(UW Health Media Team)
Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 6:21 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - We have all likely seen some of our favorite Wisconsin football players suiting up in pads and putting on their helmets to try and prevent injury. But how important is their mouth guard when it comes to game time?

A University of Wisconsin research study involving a new sensor in that small safety measure, thanks to the NFL, may fend off concussions in the future.

Admittedly, the sound of football players colliding is hard to miss. However, their head and neck movements aren’t as easy to recognize. Which is why the University of Wisconsin has partnered with the NFL for a unique research study that uses special mouth guards to track Wisconsin Badgers’ head and neck movements during games.

“From the athlete’s perspective this should feel like a normal mouth guard,” Dan Cobian, assistant professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “The idea with measuring anything on-field or the challenge of that is to instrument the individual in a way that doesn’t affect their movement, doesn’t affect their performance.”

The data collected from these volunteer athletes is different from other studies since it measures biomechanics in real time, rather than in a lab. The NFL launched the mouth guard sensor program in 2019 as part of the league’s $60 million dollar commitment to promote health and safety initiatives, according to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

To read more about the study from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, CLICK HERE.

A focus that has potentially contributed to a drop in reported concussions for the league, with 142 concussions during the regular 2020 season in comparison to 190 in 2017.

To learn more about the NFL concussion and injury statistics, CLICK HERE.

“We really want to try to do our best to prevent these injuries,” Cobian emphasized. “Injuries are an inherent part of sport. We can’t prevent all injuries, but what we can do, or try to do, is lessen their impact or lessen their severity. To do this, we need to learn more about the types of magnitudes and directions of head impacts experienced by our athletes on the field of play.”

Research from the University of Wisconsin and the three other participating institutions (University of Alabama, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Washington) will possibly be used to design better safety equipment and safer strategies on the field for student-athletes.

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