There’s a simple reason why cars have a “check engine” light. Mechanical problems aren’t always evident to even the most attuned drivers, and by the time they’re clearly obvious, the damage has already taken its toll. The red light flashes to help you take proactive, preventative action. Similarly, an athlete can absorb contact or a collision that might cause a concussion, but have no idea of the actual damage beneath the hood, so to speak. If a coach or trainer remains equally unaware, the athlete, like a car’s engine, is susceptible to serious harm.
That’s when a red light for sports would come in handy.
Thankfully, the appropriately named CheckLight addresses this dilemma. Created in partnership by Reebok and the tech company MC10 Inc., CheckLight measures how dramatically an athlete’s head moved upon impact. The results determine whether medical attention is advisable, and ultimately, the wisdom of reentering a game.
“In the heat of a game, you might not respond to a hit if you’re in the zone and the crowd is cheering,” said Elyse Kabinoff, a spokeswoman for MC10. “But now with the light coming on, it gives you the opportunity to say you’re experiencing symptoms, or at least signals to others that you need to get checked.”
As concussions become an increasingly prominent flashpoint of the sports world, CheckLight is easily implemented to gain knowledge. In a nutshell, a sensor designed by MC10 has been fitted inside a Reebok Skullcap. Three LED indicators are contained inside the sensor. The green one measures battery life. One turns yellow after “moderate” impact. And when the red light flashes, that means the contact was severe enough to warrant immediate attention. The battery can be recharged, and the $149.99 sticker price does include a charger.