X-Men football contributing to research on head impacts

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Sept 22, 2014 (ISN) – X-Men football contributing to research on head impacts
Sutherland & Muise leading study at StFX University
ANTIGONISH, NS – When the StFX X-Men football team takes to the field this season,
there is more going on than just game strategizing and executing plays – they are
contributing to scientific research.

StFX head athletic therapist Tara Sutherland CAT(C) and fourth year Human Kinetics
student and senior student therapist Dan Muise have been working with the X-Men
football team in the area of head impacts.

Sutherland is very involved in the research and treatment of concussions. Last
winter she was one of eight individuals selected by the Canadian Athletic Therapy
Association (CATA) to meet in Calgary for a workshop based around the final stage of
CATA’s Role Delineation Study. Furthermore, this past May she presented at CATA’s
national conference in Winnipeg, with her presentation focusing on the Antigonish
Concussion Clinic that she and Dr. David Cudmore have established here in
Antigonish. Her interest and expertise in concussions has sparked many students
interest on this topic of concussions, including Dan Muise.

While searching for a topic for Muise’s honours thesis, they came across an article
about a student at the University of Western Ontario who partnered with a company
called GForce Tracker based in Markham Ont. that dealt with measuring impacts to the
head in football athletes. GForce Tracker is the only company that is Head Impact
Telemetry (HIT) count certified by the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston.

After contacting company CTO Gerry Luliano with the hopes of obtaining some GForce
trackers for use in a similar study at StFX, he was delighted to be of assistance to
the study.
Sutherland comments, “They have been very generous in giving our study 50 GForce
trackers, enough to place one in each of the helmets of the X-Men starting line-up.
These GForce trackers are top of the line and on the cutting edge of research in the
area of head impacts.”
The device is the size of a domino and is placed inside the football helmet,
wirelessly transmitting real-time data to a sideline computer. When an athlete
receives an impact to the head, the sideline staff is immediately notified with
various measurements of acceleration and location of the hit.

Most of the published research to date on the topic of head impacts has focused on
football in the NCAA and high schools in the U.S.A., so with the help from GForce
Tracker, this study at StFX will help in determining whether Canadian
Interuniversity Sport (CIS) football has similar results found in studies south of
the border. Furthermore, all previous research has been on in-season practices and
games. Sutherland and Muise’s study will also investigate head impacts that are
associated with pre-season training camps where players undergo twice a day
practices.

The X-Men football team will be equipped with the GForce trackers for the entire
2014 season, making for an exciting and interesting fall on the football gridiron,
in terms of how the plays impact both the scoreboard and science.
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