CLEVELAND-- Could a mouthguard be the key to preventing concussions? Some researchers say yes.
It’s called the “Intelligent Mouthguard” and was developed and studied at the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center over the last nine years.
“What we have is a mouthguard that has a series of accelerometers and a gyroscope,” said Dr. Jay Alberts Director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center. “We’re able to put that into the athletes mouth, and monitor the impact forces that they’re experiencing during any sport or other types of activity.”
The wireless mouthguard has been found to accurately pinpoint and measure head impacts within 5 percent, and can transmit that information using Bluetooth technology. It can show a single event trauma and/or be a tool in monitoring concussion risk after multiple impacts, but feels like a standard mouthpiece. It can work for all contact sports including football, hockey, soccer and lacrosse.
“I think we’ll definitely have a prevention component,” Alberts said, “If we can monitor the impact, then we may be able to pull someone out appropriately or monitor their accumulated impact over the course of a season.”
Human validation studies involving amateur boxers ages 15 to 18 and football players ages 11 to 20 have been completed and the results published.
Clinicians are now refining the hardware to make the Intelligent Mouthguard commercially available to all athletes very soon.