The Elite Football League of India (EFLI) has approved the use of Brain Sentry helmet-mounted impact sensors for the upcoming 2014 Unity Bowl that features India and Pakistan facing off in Hyderabad, India on September 20. The Brain Sentry sensors notify when the athlete suffers “an unusually rapid – and potentially dangerous – acceleration of the head,” according to the initial press release from the league.
After a successful inaugural season in 2012-2013, the EFLI is making sure to properly prioritizing player safety. According to Concussion Watch, a PBS project aimed at tracking the number of concussions in the National Football League (NFL), there were 152 officially reported concussions in the 2013-2014 season.
Whether it was a rookie like Ryan Swope who retired before even playing a single NFL game as a result of a concussion he suffered during organized team activities (OTAs), or legends Brett Favre and Terry Bradshaw publicly sharing how concussions have affected their lives, the issue of player safety is clearly a point of concern in american football.
Over the last two seasons in the NFL, 49.5 percent of players never missed a game after having a concussion. Making matters worse is the fact that the American Academy of Neurology finds that “athletes are at greatest risk of repeat injury in the first 10 days post-concussion.”
For the EFLI in this case, knowledge is power. The more the league knows about head injuries, the better it can protect the players.
“Athletes the world over don’t want to be pulled off the field,” said Greg Merril, co-founder and CEO of Maryland-based Brain Sentry. “Not only do they hide symptoms of concussion, they might not even know they have one. As the leadership of EFLI realizes, knowing is critical because many catastrophic brain injuries are the result of second impacts to already concussed athletes. Brain Sentry monitors impacts and helps identify athletes that should be assessed for concussion.”
Most impressive of all, Brain Sentry’s Directionally Adaptive Sensing (DAS) allows for a “consistent alert level,” regardless of helmet type or hit direction.
The EFLI’s focus on player safety is largely driven by investors and owners closely connected to the sport in the U.S. Notable owners of the EFLI include former Green Bay Packers linebacker Brandon Chillar, former Dallas Cowbows wide receiver Michael Irvin, Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka, and legendary quarter backs Kurt Warner and Ron Jaworski. Jaworski also owns the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League (AFL), which already uses Brain Sentry sensors for all its players.
“It has been priority for the EFLI from the onset to provide the highest quality equipment and protection to prevent injury and long term effects of reptitive impact,” said Sunday Zeller, founder and co-CEO of the EFLI. “My thanks to Dr. Ven Movva, EFLI Medical Director for establishing and developing a partnership with Mr. Merril and Brain Sentry. I look forward to the use of this cutting edge technology during the Unity Bowl and beyond.”
There are currently eight teams in the league, five in India, two in Sri Lanka and one in Pakistan. The league recently signed a deal with Ten Sports to reach nearly 150 million televisions in India.
The Pune Marathas defeated the Delhi Defenders 6-0 to win the title game in Season 1.
Season 2 kicks is set to kick off in December 2014. A detailed schedule has yet to be released.