To the Editor:

In the last year, the national conversation around concussions and the long-term effects of head injuries has expanded beyond retired NFL players to include athletes of all ages and sports. While the human skull is quite durable, the brain inside is incredibly fragile—even more so if it’s the developing brain of a child or teenager. Simply put, there are “critical windows” of brain development where the adolescent brain is rewiring and maturing, during which it is a terrible time to shake things up.

The latest findings suggest that sports-related head impacts can cause changes in the brain structure even in the absence of outward signs and symptoms of a concussion. What that means, and what we’re learning, is that it’s not necessarily the hardest (or the harder the) hit, but the cumulative exposure to impact (such as heading a soccer ball over a playing career) that matters.

It’s important to know that while helmets and mouth guards are essential for safety, nothing can tether the brain to the skull to prevent a concussion. Medical professionals that I’ve met with on the subject like to say, “If you’ve seen one concussion, you’ve seen one concussion.” Every brain is unique and there is no clear threshold for diagnosing a concussion across individuals. Still, tracking and quantifying head impacts against a general monitoring scale can help identify risk and/or a significant hit that may require further clinical and medical evaluation. There is great power that comes from knowing the force and frequency of hits to the head in real-time.

We’ve reached a point where parents, coaches and players are beginning to realize how damaging head trauma can be, not only on athletic performance but also on cognitive ability and social & emotional functioning. As this academic and sports year kicks off, I encourage you to take the time to educate yourself about the signs of a concussion and to speak with your athlete about the importance of reporting symptoms to a responsible adult. The best thing we can do to keep athletes achieving their best on the field, in the classroom and in life is to take the responsibility of managing concussions off their shoulders.

Visit our HeadOn educational site for the latest research, information and advice about concussion safety.


Dale Hollingsworth
CEO and Co-Founder
Triax Technologies