Concussions fuel race to create a safer hockey helmet

11:29 AM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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OTTAWA, Canada -- As sports and health officials work to slow or prevent the explosion of concussions in hockey, at least 2 Canadian companies are racing to develop a safer helmet for players.

Impakt Protective is working on a helmet with a sensor that alerts coaches and parents when a player has absorbed a serious hit. The company was formed the day founder Scott Clark's son took a major hit to his head during a game.

"He came off the ice, the question was did he sustain a concussion," recalled Clark, who then thought to himself "I don't know."

The sensors measure the impact of a hit, and act as a lie detector of sorts as well,  because players often tell their coaches they're fine... when they're not.

"A player just wants to get back on the ice," said Danny Crossman of Impakt Protective. "If you can raise the level of reporting because you put a device in the helmet, then you stop kids from going back out."

Xenith Helmets is another company trying to make the game of hockey safer. Xenith specializes in football helmets and is working to apply it's shock absorbing design to a hockey model to reduce brain injuries.

The work of both companies shows how increased concern over concussions in hockey and other sports are driving technology.

(Copyright 2011 by NBC. All Rights Reserved.)

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