My favourite saying when talking about the sport to newcomers is “You don’t go swimming and not get wet, so you don’t put on armour and fight without getting hit”. I say this mainly to illustrate that regardless, everyone entering the list is participating in a full contact combat sport, and getting hit is going to happen and is an associated risk.
Why just concussion? Why not other types of injuries?
Other injuries can be easily qualified and treated. Finding ourselves in a sport where we purposefully hit each other with weapons ranging from 1.0kg up to potentially 3.5kg means that we should give some thought to how we categorise, look at and treat people who are displaying symptoms of head trauma and concussion.
We’ve seen a big shift in mainstream sports such as Rugby, Boxing, MMA and even the NFL and Football to acknowledge the associated risks that repeated head impact and concussions can play in traumatic brain injury. Most of these sports now have specific protocol in place to recognise concussions and diagnose them suitably to allow the athlete time for recuperation.
So how do we do that in Buhurt?
We only have to look to the sports listed above, we can see that those such as Rugby and the NFL have now invested heavily with companies and technology to allow for real time monitoring of impacts during games. The RFU and Opro for example have custom fitted mouth guards for premiership players that contain sensors to measure head impact during games and provide brain analysis data post game for medical review. The NFL has dedicated concussion spotters reviewing real time game play as well as some helmets having monitoring within them to detect the impacts.
Therefore we should look to technology to help monitor impacts during training and fights to give early indications of what maybe head trauma and concussions.
But that is expensive and this sport is niche.
I completely agree, so rather than reinvent the wheel, we need to look to solutions already present and available to try and adapt something that is market ready and useable. I’ve been doing research on this front and after a multitude of hours trawling the internet and looking for products I found one which I was willing to invest my money into to try out.
What product is it?
The product itself is called HIT Impact and has been developed by https://www.hitrecognition.co.uk/
It is a wearable sensor device that is designed to be mounted to helmets to measure the G-force of impacts, both individually and cumulatively over a period of time. Coupled with bluetooth capability the device links to a proprietary app on any smart phone and gives real time data as well as stored logs for periods of activity. This sensor can be fixed to a solid helmet for sports such as mountain biking, rally cross, skateboarding etc. whilst also being able to be worn within a scrum cap for rugby and other sports.
Why this product?
- It is cost effective. I contacted the company prior but purchased this with my own money. It was £89.99 for the standard options, however they do have a V2 in development which will be over £200 and offer more data logging, sensors and information.
- It is designed to be helmet mounted already. This means minimal intrusion to fix it within a helmet for Buhurt.
- Small in size – It is 30mm or so in diameter and circa 20mm thick means mounting it should be simpler.
- The app and user interface makes it simple to understand the data. The app also has concussion symptom prompts based on NHS thresholds.
- The proprietary software uses tested and defined metrics to calculate and output G-force warnings.
What are we going to do with it?
In short, I am hoping to mount this within the helmet and use it to gather data about the impacts I am taking both in armoured training and in competition. Whilst the data won’t be useful to everyone, I want to trial it as a proof of concept for monitoring and lay the foundation for what could be adopted in future to help develop sport specific brain impact data logging.
I will be doing a write up after the first armoured session to document how the device performed in a maiden outing and also period reviews as the season goes on
I have done a introductory video to the product unboxing it, mounting it and showing a brief test screen of the impact logging in real time which can be found on our YouTube.
Until the next time, train hard, fight easy, see you in the list!