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Using His Head
Edited by ALEXANDRA FENWICK
February 20, 2012
TECH
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February 20, 2012

Using His Head

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TECH

A young inventor comes up with a device to warn of possible concussions

Super Bowl victors and BCS champs regularly earn trips to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it's not every day that high school science-fair winners get the same honor. Rarer still do the two worlds intersect, but among the students at last week's White House science fair was Braeden Benedict, a freshman at Peninsula High in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., whose invention of a low-cost device to help detect sports concussions uses science to help athletes.

Special helmets and impact-detecting chin straps can cost hundreds of dollars, but Braeden's creation, an ampule that adheres to the front of a helmet and releases a liquid dye upon a potentially brain-rattling hit, costs only a few dollars and gives coaches a simple visual signal that a player should be yanked for evaluation. Braeden was inspired to create it last year after a football teammate worsened a concussion he had unknowingly sustained. The 15-year-old is working on patenting his invention, which won last year's Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and which Eric Nauman, director of Purdue's Human Injury Research and Regenerative Technologies Lab, called "an elegant way to solve the [detection] problem."

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