FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Richard M. Greenwald
Janyes R. Lemons
SIMBEX HIT SYSTEM™ PROVEN IN NCAA DIVISION I SEASON-LONG, ON-FIELD TEST
After a full season monitoring the members of the Virginia Tech football team, the Head Impact Telemetry System™ compiles the most comprehensive on-field head impact research data available.
Lebanon, NH - March 01, 2004 - Research and product development firm Simbex LLC announced today the successful debut performance of the Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System™. Under the most demanding conditions, the HIT System™ monitored the impact exposure of players on the Virginia Tech Hokies NCAA Division I football team. Information compiled by the HIT System™ over the course of the three-month study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech is the most comprehensive data set to date detailing incidence, severity, and location of head impacts in football.
Supported in part by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research at the National Institutes of Health, this new technology was developed by Lebanon, NH based Simbex LLC, expressly to enable research into mild traumatic brain injury mechanisms. The HIT System™ incorporates advanced MEMS accelerometers and state-of-the art telemetry to provide vital, real-time, hit-by-hit data. The miniature impact monitoring system is a product of over ten years of research and development by company founder and President, Rick Greenwald, Ph.D. and Brown Medical School researcher J.J. Trey Crisco, Ph.D., Director of the Bioengineering Lab, Department of Orthopedics.
Rigorous development and testing created a product that performed nearly flawlessly in its debut season, enabling researchers at Virginia Tech to begin conducting groundbreaking research into head injury biomechanics during the 2003 Hokie football season. "We are extremely pleased with the first year results the system met and exceeded our expectations", reports Dr. Greenwald. "Our research partners at Virginia Tech demonstrated that HIT System™ is practical for widespread use in the football environment." Led by Stefan Duma, Ph.D. Head Team Physician, the Virginia Tech team is composed of biomechanical engineers from the College of Engineering, medical and training staff from the athletic department sports medicine group, and physicians from Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine. The HIT System™ monitored head impacts of team members during 10 games and 35 practices during the 2003 season, recording for the first time head impact acceleration levels in actual practice and game situations, in real-time, for different players positions on the field. Early results show that players experience 30-50 significant impacts each game, enduring head acceleration levels similar to those seen in automobile crashes. Further, impact frrequency and magnitude vary widely by position. "If you ask somebody what kind of head injury are you going to worry about, everybody thinks of the receiver running down the sideline getting popped by the safety," Duma said. "But to me, the interesting part is going to be these lower speed but high frequency hits we're seeing on the (offensive and defensive) line." Dr. Brolinson notes that, "Despite the complexity of the technology, the system has been robust and simple to use."
The HIT System™ will see expanded use in the 2004 season, as Simbex plans to enlarge the football study to include up to 500 players at five colleges. Simbex research engineer Jeff Chu notes, "The key to understanding the biomechanical factors that influence mild traumatic brain injuries is recording the on-field impact experience of a large number of players. With this understanding, we may be able to develop predictive algorithms using a player's impact history to remove players before they get seriously injured." Dr. Duma concurs, adding "There's great potential for prevention of sports-related brain injuries, but the lack of scientifically sound, evidence-based studies is a barrier to improved prevention and treatment."
The importance of research into mild traumatic brain injury machanisms is highlighted by the 300,000 concussions experienced by youth, amateur, and professional football players each year. Researchers anticipate that understanding of brain injury mechanisms will enable key improvements in concussion management best practices and sports protective equipment for improved player safety. "The benefits of the HIT system™ and the associated injury studies can go beyond the care of individual players," explains Dr. Crisco. "With enough studies, the novel data on head impacts and injury should help in establishing the first helmet standards for reducing the risk of concussion injury, and may also aid in the development of new helmet technology." Improvements in protective equipment for the automotive industry and military may also be realized.
About Simbex LLC
Simbex is a research and product development company whose core expertise is biomechanical feedback systems. The goal of the company is to create marketable products and solutions for active life improvement in the areas of prosthetics, sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. The founders are internationally recognized experts in their fields and have decades of experience in the area of functional evaluation and efficacy assessment of complex biomechanical systems for the sporting goods, orthopedic and exercise equipment industries. The research branch of the Company is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.