More can be done to prevent brain injuries and brain diseases in sports.

ACT Head Impact Tracker.
Because you should know. Protect your assets.

Jolts, bumps and impacts on a head play significant role in athletes’ health, wellbeing and performance

Frequent jolts, bumps and impacts on a head occur in multiple sports, at all levels, and affect all genders and age groups. Make no mistake, they are not “a dedicated challenge” for few sports like American Football, boxing, ice-hockey and rugby. Sports like football (soccer), basketball, handball, floorball, cycling, skating, scooting, equestrian sports, Alpine sports, motor sports and many more are also very much affected. These jolts, bumps and impacts on a head cause it to move, which makes brain to move, rotate or twist within the skull, causing shear forces and potentially damaging brain tissue. Gears like helmets and mouth guards will not solve the problem, they are not placed between the brain and the skull. More actions are needed.

No medication. No cure. Prevention is the key.

Jolts, bumps and impacts on a head may cause Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
and contribute to variety of brain diseases.
There is frustratingly little modern medicine can do to them.
There is no medication, no cure. So things should not go that far.
Prevention is the key.
And it starts and is managed with data.


How to make sports brain safer and healthier?

Manage these things on all athletes across their whole athlete pathway:

1. Decrease MAGNITUDE of impacts and forces acting on a head.
2. Decrease NUMBER of impacts and forces acting on a head.
3. Decrease FREQUENCY and reduce PROXIMITY of impacts and forces acting on a head.

Data from ACT Head Impact Tracker will help you to do it.

Meet ACT Head Impact Tracker, measuring device for forces acting on a head while doing sports.

How does it work?

ACT Head Impact Tracker is simple, affordable, easy to use and versatile device, which can be used in virtually any sport – as long as it is done on a dry land. You can use it to measure and track individual athlete or team of athletes; in sports where helmets are used and those where not; on professional, recreational and junior levels; on men and women, boys and girls and anything in between. This is how it works:

1. Athlete wears ACT Head Impact Tracker head sensor attached to a headband, other type of a headwear, or helmet.
2. ACT Head Impact Tracker smartphone App is on the sidelines and listens to the sensors.
3. When an event with an impact or forces 10g or over act on a head, the affected athlete’s head sensor starts sending information to the App.
4. When the information has been transferred from sensor to the App, it is forwarded to the cloud. Cloud converts the received information to relevant data and adds it to the user accounts with granted access for it.
5. The event data appears to the athlete’s profile in the App(s) and in Browser Access -tools.
When relevant data transfer technologies are active and available, this takes no more than few seconds.

How to use it?

1. Coaching/training/team personnel
Complement sensory evaluation on the sidelines, “What happened?”

2. Coaching
When, where, why, to whom, how hard and how often. How to make things better and healthier.

3. Players
Improve awareness and understanding, advocate the change in attitudes and behavior.

4. Families of athletes

5. Sponsors, media and partners

What can you do with the data?

1. Improve decision-making quality and accuracy

Getting objective numeric measurement data on the impacts and forces acting on a head can help you to better understand what has happened. It is not always at all clear if the head was impacted, who were affected, or if there was one or multiple events to it. And it is virtually impossible to estimate just how violent the impact and forces acting on a head were. But there and then, when something happens, the decision must be made by someone (who often is not a medically trained professional):

a.) “It was probably nothing, right? Get back in there.”
b.) “Maybe you should sit this one out and take it easy for a day or two.”
c.) “Into the locker room, change and go get checked by medical professional.”
d.) “Call an ambulance!”


2. Decrease the risk of brain injury and brain diseases in short, medium, and long term by decreasing the number, magnitude, frequency and proximity of impacts and forces acting on a head.

Use numeric restrictions, magnitude restrictions, improve techniques, apply relevant physical trainings, adjust trainings and drills, validate effectiveness on action taken, follow up on compliancy and if objectives set are reached.

If in doubt, sit them out.
If there is any suspicion or doubt about a brain injury, the individual should be safely removed from the activity immediately. Athletes who may or do experience a brain injury, such as a concussion, should be properly evaluated by medical professionals and should not return to sports until they have been fully recovered, and cleared to do so by a medical professional.

Prevention is the key to avoiding Second impact syndrome (SIS). Second impact syndrome is a rare and extremely dangerous medical condition that can occur when an individual sustains a second brain injury, typically a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), before fully recovering from a previous brain injury. SIS is most commonly associated with sports-related brain injuries and most commonly seen in young individuals, such as children and teenagers, whose brains are still developing and may be more vulnerable to injury.

What is the data and what does it tell you?


1. Magnitude relating data tells you how violent the forces on a head were

Rule of thumb: the larger the magnitude, the bigger the chance damage occurs.

g-force, linear acceleration/deceleration
Regarding individual and infrequent events, in many studies acceleration/deceleration under 40g have been considered likely not to cause permanent damage, but it can be extrapolated that the probability of permanent damage starts to increase in impacts within the range of 40-60g and higher. Some research studies have suggested that exceeding 70-100g or more, is associated with an increased risk of concussion.
It is important to note that these thresholds are not universally agreed upon within the medical and scientific communities and can vary depending on multiple factors (such as age, gender, impact history, brain injury history, and many more). Thresholds should not be used as general guidance. 

rad/s, angular velocity (available when measuring with ACT Head Impact Tracker head sensor Pro)
In the context of brain traumas, rad/s can be used to quantify the rotational forces experienced by the brain during an injury event. Rotational motion can lead to diffuse axonal injury, which is a common type of injury associated with brain trauma. At the moment there is no specific universally accepted threshold of rad/s that could definitively diagnose a concussion, or permanent brain damage.

Impact g-load (available through Browser Access only)
The relationship between the magnitude and duration of linear acceleration/deceleration and the risk of sustaining a concussion is one part of a complex picture. The biomechanics of brain injury are multifaceted. At the moment there is no specific universally accepted threshold of Impact g-load (AUC) that could definitively diagnose a concussion, or permanent brain damage.

IMPORTANT! The above thresholds are not to be used as general guidance. Precautionary principle should apply. Brain injuries can result from a combination of forces and factors, including linear and angular forces,  duration of the impact and more. Threshold for an injury vary significantly among individuals.

IF YOU ATTACH SENSOR TO THE HELMET, please notice that sensor measures what it is attached to. The impact forces measured from the helmet are likely to be higher than those acting on your head inside the helmet. How much higher depends on factors like helmet type, how old it is and which part of the helmet the forces act on. If you have 2 sensors at your disposal, you can approximate the conversion rate for the helmet you are using by attaching one sensor on the head with a headband and one in the helmet and wear it like that for few practices. Compare the data collected by the sensors, divide the helmet measurement with that of measurement on a head in each impact and calculate the average conversion rate.


2. Impact history tells you the number of events with impact forces (10g or over) acting on a head, i.e. how many there is and have been

Rule of thumb: the higher the number of events when impacts and forces act on a head, the bigger the chance the damage occurs.

Repeated head impacts, even those low in magnitude and in the absence of diagnosed concussions (so-called subconcussive events), may lead to subtle and cumulative brain changes, brain diseases and injuries. Such changes may include alterations in brain structure and function, and the accumulation of abnormal protein deposits like tau, which is associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Repeated head impacts may also lead to subtle cognitive changes that can affect attention, memory, and other cognitive functions, and they may not become apparent until later in life.


3. Impact history also provides frequency & proximity relating data, i.e. when the events happened, how often and close to each other they occurred

Rule of thumb: the more frequent and closer in proximity, the bigger the chance the damage occurs.

Frequency of impacts and violent forces acting on a head is a significant factor in assessing the risk of brain injuries and diseases. Cumulative exposure to head impacts, especially subconcussive impacts, can have long-term consequences on brain health. Reducing the frequency of head impacts and implementing protective measures are important steps in mitigating these risks. Long-term monitoring of individuals who are at risk of frequent head impacts, such as athletes or individuals in high-risk professions, is essential.

In contact sports, athletes may experience multiple head impacts in close proximity during a single game or practice session. This close succession of impacts can contribute to the overall risk of brain injury.

Disclaimer and warning
ACT Head Impact Tracker products or services are not protective devices. They do not prevent incidents from happening and they do not protect against injuries or any kind. ACT Head Impact Tracker is a measuring device. ACT Head Impact Tracker products or services are not medical devices and do not provide medical advice, any kind of diagnostics or treatment suggestions for any health problem. ACT Head Impact Tracker products or services, any content or information therein, is not to be used in place of consultation of licensed medical professional. In case of a head impact, or when suspecting one or a concussion, immediately and safely leave the activity and seek help from licensed medical professionals. It is advisable to have an accompanying person if concussion is possible. In case of an emergency, call an ambulance. If you have been given medical advice by a licensed medical professional, always follow that advice despite any information or content in or from ACT Head Impact Tracker. Northern Sports Insight and Intelligence Oy or ACT Head Impact Tracker products or services are not health care specialists, and neither is communication between you and us or ACT Head Impact Tracker forming any kind of doctor – patient relationship.

Common misconceptions about preventing brain injuries and diseases in sports.

  1. “Helmet keeps me protected against brain injuries.”
    No, it does not. It is not placed between the skull and brain.
    Brain trauma is caused by head movement, which makes brain to move, rotate or twist within the skull, causing shear forces and potentially damaging brain tissue. Helmets are great in protecting against skull fractures and soft tissue damage. Many helmets also have one or more features, such as design and materials to absorb and distribute impact forces, which can decrease the magnitude of forces acting on a head and hence help take down the risk of brain injury in certain types of impacts. Always wear a helmet, but don’t think it solves the problem. You need to do more.
  2. “Wearing a mouth guard protects against brain injuries.”
    No, it does not. Mouth guards are
    designed to protect the teeth, gums, and mouth.
    Brain injuries are caused by sudden and forceful head movements, which makes the brain move rapidly within the skull. Mouth guards are not primarily designed to absorb or dissipate the forces associated with such impacts. Do wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth, gums and mouth, but don’t think it solves the problem with brain trauma. You need to do much more.
  3. ”There was no impact, so there is no risk to it.”
    Yes, there is. A sudden and severe jolt to the head can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI).
    It does not have to be a direct impact. TBIs can result from various types of events including impacts, jolts, falls, blows, and more. The key is the head movement which causes brain to collide with the inside of the skull.
  4. ”If I do lots of heading/tackle/etc. training repetitions, my brain will become more resilient against the impacts.”
    No, it will not. While individual lower magnitude events may not pose a significant risk of brain injury, there is great concern about the cumulative effect of repetitive events over time.
    Do technique training less in repetitions, but more in quality. Graphical illustrations and data in ACT Head Impact Tracker App can help you to develop the best techniques in heading, tackles and more with lower magnitudes in them to support your brain health.
  5. ”I played back in the days, made my fair share of headings, and I’m just fine. The balls back then weighted a ton, and the ones today nothing. Players nowadays have nothing to be afraid of.”
    Yes, they do. Clearly all the athletes will not get injured or permanent damages. But there is just too many who will. The risk should and could be made significantly lower.
    Sure the gears have developed and are better now than then. But the game, training and athletes have developed even faster. The scientific facts are not to be over-looked, any one injured is one too many. The junior athletes and their families in sports like football must be able to trust the sports and grass root organizations in them to make everything in their power to keep the athletes safe and promote their health.
  6. ”I can’t do anything to prevent brain injuries or diseases. And they don’t happen all that often, it is a small issue compared with number of orthopedic injuries.”
    Yes, you can do things to prevent brain injuries and diseases. Decrease the number, magnitude, frequency and proximity of impacts and forces acting on a head.
    Brain injury does not compare with a twisted ankle. If damage caused in sports only manifests later in life, it is still an issue of sports and should be addressed in sports. It is the only way to improve the health and wellbeing of athletes in short, medium, and long term.

Developed for the athletes

We have been very fortunate to work with the best in class in our development and testing.
Our promise: We continue working hard every day to become ever better in providing objective, relevant and actionable information on forces acting on a head.
Your promise: Use the data to proactively improve the health, well-being and performance of athletes in short, medium and long-term.


Don’t take it from us

Take it from them. Here’s what some of our users have to say.

“As a coach it is my responsibility to look after the players’ health and well-being too. Some players have more aggressive or head first to every situation style, which leads them having more head impacts. When I get objective data and can compare that to other players’ data for confirmation – takes away the guessing and guestimation and gives me good tools to address the issue with the risk players.”

Head coach, football Academy U18


“I can follow up my players on the pitch and will get information when something happens. It is usually quite challenging to visually observe such events, and try to estimate what kind of forces was acting on an event. Now I can get objective data to back up my observations and decisions made regarding.”

Physiotherapist, men’s elite ice-hockey team


“As a parent who reads the news and well understand that sports my kids are attending to posses a great risk for injuries, I’m absolutely relieved to finally have something like this available! I need to know these events will not go unnoticed and will be acted upon. It should be one of all sports’ main objectives to make them as safe as possible for every one involved. And there, head safety should be number 1.”

Mom of one, small junior football / cycling / scooting


”It is very difficult to estimate the head impacts, especially those caused by a puck, to ice-hockey goalies. Now I can get objective measurement data to improve my understanding and a new tool to my belt as a coach.”

Ice-hockey goalie coach, different age groups


“There is more and more news regarding the head impacts in sports, but still not too much done to address them properly and take minimizing the number of head injuries as an objective. We see this as a potential positive initiative to really step up our game and start acting on head impacts. It is also likely to increase the appeal of our sport amongst the players and their families.”

Head of a sport country association