Cool Stuff: Brain Sentry detects hard hits to head
We all miss Junior Seau. I also miss my former UCLA teammate and Oakland Raider Super Bowl Champion Center, Dave Dalby. Recently I learned I have lost my other UCLA Outside Linebacker teammate, retired Minnesota Viking Fred McNeil.
It is common knowledge how we tragically lost Junior. My buddy, Dave Dalby, sat in a car, gunned his engines then drove at full speed into a tree. Dave died in his car that August 2002 night in Dana Point, California.
Fred McNeil, the most fluid linebacker in college and football history is lost to his pals because his lights are on, but nobody is home. After retiring from the Vikings, Fred McNeil became a respected lawyer, at least until he started missing court dates.
A year and a half ago, some of us old 70s Bruins gathered for a reunion, and Fred didn't recognize us. His dear wife patiently reintroduced Fred to some of his oldest and closest friends. I love Fred like a brother. Living so far away in the islands it hit me harder because I had no clue. After the South Bend 2009 Notre Dame vs USC game, now Seattle Seahawk's Coach Pete Carroll & Viking's legend Bud Grant didn't advise me of Fred McNeil's condition... even as I expressed to them my deep pride in learning from McNeil as his backup.
It’s ok to forget me. I am a guy that faded stage right to Savaii and Hawaii. But Fred even had trouble reminiscing with our 'ol Quarterback, now center stage NCIS TV superstar and still a down to earth good guy, Mark Harmon. With cable re-runs, I think Mark's show is showing in syndicated re-runs somewhere across the globe, every minute of the day.
A very important development came to light during the recent Portland Thunder vs New Orleans Voodo Arena Football broadcast. The play-by-play announcer and color commentator (Josh Wilcox) highlighted the "Brain Sentry" attached to every Arena Football player's helmet. At $65, the "Brain Sentry" accurately and cost effectively alerts coaches and medical staff to severe helmet impact. This technological implementation may save football as we know it.
The lawsuits against the NFL, which may trickle down to colleges or the NCAA, give you a clear perspective of how bad player concussion-attributed dementia has become.
Medical professionals have universally expressed that it is the second and latter impacts that manifest the permanent and eventually often fatal concussion syndrome.
More critical than the container loads of stylish shoes, it's time for Troy Polamalu and June Jones to redirect their generous annual assistance by supplying Samoa's youth with the "Brain Sentry"...or something like it.
Expect this "Brain Sentry" to be the foundation of magnificent devices to come. The current generation with cantilever piezo sensors is just baby steps.
I predict future generation Brain Sentry's may incorporate Apple iWatch or Google technology, debuting with infinite fanfare this fall.
Revert to my Dad's era with no face masks. My Dad told me a few years ago, "In my day we didn't use our helmet as a weapon, a primary cause of modern era concussions. If you tried that idiocy in my day, your nose would resemble a pancake."
Football has provided opportunities and education for lots of Pacific Islanders, my son included (my Dad, and I too). Everybody in Samoa is related to someone who has played at a Div 1 college or professional level.
But now letting our kids play the game without requiring this new technology is like sending our active duty Toa Samoa into battle with only a rock.
Thank you Arena Football League for leading the way with your rules and commitment. Thank you Samoa Bowl Committee, Governor Moliga, Congressman Faleomavaega, and overseas Samoans/friends for finding a way.