Nik Hannay, a Brighton University student and aspiring sports equipment designer

Smart anti-concussion helmet for American football players

A British student is developing a sensor-riddled helmet to warn sportsmen if they are at risk of a concussion.

Triggering alerts whenever a pressure load on the player's skull exceeds a safe level, the smart helmet aims to change behaviour of players on the pitch to prevent head injuries. The helmet has been developed with American football players in mind but could be implemented in other sports such as boxing, ice hockey or cycling.

"Players will see exactly what they are crashing into - people's skulls - and the idea is to discourage players from using their helmets as offensive weapons," said Nik Hannay, a 24-year old student who was inspired to design the Contego helmet during his visit to the USA.

His research revealed there were 100,000 concussion injuries in the National Football League every year, out of which 60 per cent came from head-to-head clashes.

The Contego helmet sends data to connected laptops and smartphones and enables players, referees, coaches and medical professional to instantly see if there is any dangerous behaviour going on on the pitch. It also flashes a red alert if there are signs of serious injury.

The helmet includes a transparent polycarbonate visor that improves peripheral vision but also shows more of the head and face to the opposition, according to the university spokesman.

Nik Hannay, a co-owner of a graphic design company, is already in touch with a manufacturer of helmets for American football players. His ambition is to work as a sports equipment designer.

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