New mouthguard indicates risk of concussion

Thanks to the new, sensory equipped Force Impact Technologies (FITGuard), athletes could have a better idea of when to push through the pain -- and when to rest.

While protecting the teeth, and malleable by the industry standard Boil and Bite method, FITGuard is also able to assess the degree of risk should an athlete take a blow.

An LED turns blue to indicate a medium-degree impact and red to signal an impact in which the athlete has a 50 percent chance of developing a concussion.

The LED displays are bright and boldly displayed where coaches, other players and parents can easily see them.

After impact, more data is processed and downloaded to an app that gives more information about the impact.

"[The FITGuard] will allow parents, coaches and leagues to follow their normal concussion protocol while having some quantitative data to support their conclusion," said co-developer Anthony Gonzales in his product's promotional video. "We want to provide them with the tools to make informed decisions about the safety of athletes and reduce the traumatic effects of brain injury."

It's a common occurrence that after being injured, athletes are determined to get back in the game, even when they shouldn't. Such situations become even more complicated in cases where the symptoms are subtle, making a concussion difficult to detect.

Even non-life threatening concussions can have long term cognitive consequences and can affect memory, balance, vision, and emotions, according to the CDC. Taking another hit shortly after a seemingly minimal first whack could lead to more serious brain injuries and even death.

The CDC estimates that 10 percent of athletes or approximately 3.8 million Americans suffer a concussion once a year.

Given the frequency of such accidents and the risks involved, US President Obama led a White House Summit on youth sports concussions at the end of May.

The CDC also estimates that 47 percent of athletes do not report their injuries. For this reason, data from the impacts experienced by users is delivered to a central database that will allow FITGuard to gather injury statistics.

The FITGuard is currently in the testing phase, although it is currently available for pre-order at a price of $50 and estimates shipping will start in late summer.

The device is likely to fit athletes as young as 11 and is expected to last for around 300 playing hours, or 10 hours per week for a typical 30-week season.