Head impact telemetry system

Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) is a software system originally designed to help detect potential concussion type collisions of American football players. The Head Impact Telemetry System was first developed by scientists at Virginia Tech[1] and Dartmouth College in 2002. The Head Impact Telemetry System is the first of its kind that can measure the impacts of players in real game time. HITS is being used to have a better understanding of how concussions and other head injuries happen.[2] A major advantage of the Head Impact Telemetry System is its ease of use. Lower-level program trainers can operate the system quickly, easily, and efficiently.


HITS is made up of six battery-powered sensors that are located within the padding of a football helmet. These sensors detect the magnitude, duration, location, and direction of up to as many as 100 football hits. The sensors send this information to a computer that records the data within 150 yards. The system is designed so that when a player's helmet experiences an impact of 10 G’s, the HITS sensors are activated and a signal is sent to a receiver connected to a laptop computer on the sideline. The impact is then registered on the screen along with a 3-D graphic of the human head to show where the player was hit.


One of the drawbacks of the HITS is that it can not tell for certain if a player has sustained a concussion. It can only measure the impact and not the player’s reaction to the force of the blow. Since players react to different levels of impact in different ways the sensors sometimes give misleading information. Another problem of the Head Impact Telemetry System is the signal strength outdoors. Studies have shown that the environment can affect the signal strength resulting in longer download times and errors in transmission. Today there are only nine College Football teams using the system and the National Football League has not shown a great interest in implementing the technology for its players.[3]

Other uses

Impact technology is being developed in the National Football League to measure the force of a collision on the quarterback’s chest. The Head Impact Telemetry System is also being developed for use in other sports such as hockey, baseball, and soccer,[4] and in the United States Military to measure the force of blasts to the head.

See also


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