DT Concussion Design Thinking!!

Did you know that high school football players suffer 11.2 concussions for every 10,000 games or practices? Well, according to Frontline, many concussions can result in memory loss, which is very dangerous, especially at a young age. Long term consequences can be harmful, especially when high school and college football players are constantly hitting their heads, and tackling each other during the game. Officials of the game are supposed to make their best judgement of an athlete who may have a concussion, but their opinion cannot go as far as a medical opinion. This means that the responsibility falls under the coach, or the trainer from the school. The trainer should follow a specific protocol when it comes to diagnosing a concussion, and an athlete returning from a concussion. According to NCAA, a concussion is a change in brain function following a force to the head which can lead to temporary unconsciousness. The protocol for a school’s trainer is as follows:

  1. Having education on concussions
  2. Assess the athlete before they start playing
  3. Recognizing the symptoms of concussions (including spine injuries)
  4. Post concussion management, and taking concussion history, and specific needs into consideration
  5. Remain aware when the athlete returns to the activity, and make sure that they are okay to play (this is just as important as the evaluation that took place right after the concussion)
  6. Incremental increase of activity (for example, only walking one practice, and then build to running)
  7. Also, returning to school activity

Athletes (football players), coaches, and trainers need to be more informed on how to prevent concussions. Also, they need to be informed on how important it is to take the process slow, and make sure to stick to protocol. It is very important for the athlete to know the importance of “taking it slow.” Also parents need to be informed on how to treat their child, and know that concussions are very serious so their child should not be “sucking it up.” Since these are very common problems amongst competitive sports, everybody who is relevant to the game should be advised a lot more about concussions.

Some ideas that I came up with for athletes to be more protected while playing are:

  1. A more protective helmet
  2. More equipment that a player can wear to prevent injury
  3. Programs to help educate players, coaches, trainers, and parents on concussions
  4. Stricter protocol
  5. Protocol not just for trainers, but athletes, coaches, and parents

For my prototype, I first created a website that contained protocols for athletes to follow, but I found that there are websites that actually created protocols for athletes to follow.

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Some of the steps I created. I used Padlet 

I thought very hard (and long) about what I could create that could truly help football players. I asked my friend who played football what needed to be changed in the game. He himself, has suffered a numerous amount of concussions. He stated that there needed to be more padding in helmets. Guardian Caps  is a company that makes padding on the outside of the helmet to prevent the shock and decrease the impact. He also said that his team must wear sensors in the helmets that sense how hard they get hit in the head, and if it passes a certain number, they are taken out of the game. He then said, that there should be a rule that makes hitting above the chest illegal in the game, and this should be taken very seriously, because it would definitely decrease the number of concussions. His last suggestion was to stop football, but that obviously will not happen.

With this information, I started thinking about what I could invent.  I looked up football helmets, and they were they are built, what is inside of them, and how the structure of the helmet protect the head. According to Co.Design, football helmets will never be concussion proof. The website states that they are 85% as good as they are going to get. I researched what is inside of the top rated, and most famous helmet, a Ridell 360 helmet, and it features a lot of padding. Although there is a lot of padding, I actually expected a lot more padding than what was featured in the helmet. I also thought there would be more than just padding, and more technology in the helmet. Here is the link to a picture that shows the inside of a Ridell helmet. This is when I thought, wouldn’t a spring type of technology work inside of helmets? It seems understandable that springs AND padding would absorb shock and impact. Also, instead of teams having to buy a separate sensor for their helmets, there should be helmet with one already built in.

I thought that a helmet built with springs could make a huge difference. The helmet would be built as follows: plastic, then a lining of foam, then springs, and then padding. The springs would be attached to the thin lining of foam, and then the padding would be attached to the ends of the spring. When the athlete puts on the helmet, the springs would not be be totally contracted, or pressed down. But when they are tackled, the springs will contract and will be pushed against the padding. Putting this in words is confusing, so I have drawn this out for you:

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What is inside of the helmet 

 

 

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Inside of helmet before getting hit
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Inside of helmet when player gets hit 

I believe that putting springs in the helmet will  put more resistance to a hit. The springs will decrease the impact, but giving the head a longer time to hit the edge of the helmet, and impacting with the player they hit or the player that hit them. The three levels of padding will absorb more shock, and will allow for a more comfortable, and tighter fit, since many football players do not fit their helmets correctly. At the front of the helmet, where the frontal lobe is located, a sensor will be put there that is barely noticeable. When they are hit, it will notify the coach via another device, or tablet, and it will measure the gravity force (g) of the hit.

Ridell’s new helmet, the Ridell Speedflex, has curved padding, and a way to customize the fit of the helmet. No helmet uses springs, and all helmets only use special padding. According to Aboutsports, the three top rated helmets actually do not use springs.

Although I cannot test this helmet, due to health hazards, I am sure that this helmet could make a difference. I am very surprised that no companies have tried to create a helmet with springs. If I could test this, I would use the same technology and trials that helmet companies undertake. According to Tested.com, helmet companies use crash test dummies. Researchers put sensors inside of the dummy’s head, and use a machine to replicate the different levels of impact to the head with the helmet on. They give a blow to every area of the head, and look at how high the gravity force of the hit is on the head. I would take this helmet to a school like Virginia Tech, where testing helmets occurs apparently. I wish I could actually test his helmet to see the results!

 

Sneak Peak into Sports Med

This week was awesome because we actually got to meet twice! We continued and actually tested our Sensory Touch Lab. This lab was extremely fun, and it definitely taught me something new. For example, I learned that sensory receptors actually existed! I can not believe how many times I did not feel a paper clip touch my hand!

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Krystal being a great partner during our lab this week!

Learning about the brain was also another topic that we learned about! I believe that the brain is the most intriguing and fascinating part of the body to learn about. It is amazing that all of these regions of the brain can control every little movement, capture every memory, and control our feelings is crazy to think about!

We also did some research on concussions in youth sports. This was very interesting because concussions are very popular in this generation of athletes, and its one of the most common injuries amongst teenage athletes. This topic is definitely one that can be relatable amongst younger people because we hear so many incidents from friends or professional athletes. We are starting a design thinking project on concussions, and how to prevent them. I have heard many great ideas from fellow classmates, and I believe I have a great idea as well!

We have continued our diet analysis, and I am learning more and more about my own diet each day! I am learning about what I am lacking in my diet, and what I should be eating more of (dairy and protein). I believe this project is benefiting my greatly, and I love it because I love nutrition!

 

The Benefits of Exercise!!

I truly believe that the habit of exercise can change your whole life. It not only changes the way you look, but it changes the way that you think, communicate, and view life. In this article that Wendy A. Suzuki wrote, she mentions that exercise is scientifically proven to prevent stress. I can believe this, and I 100% agree, because I exercise everyday, and I truly believe whatever stress I am feeling goes away for that hour or two. Exercise is definitely a good escape from everyday life! I also agree that exercise does make one focus a lot more. Although it makes you tired, exercise makes me focus on one thing at a time, since I normally can focus on two or more things at a time. When I am exercising, I never really notice improved memory, but maybe it is more obvious in adults, rather than kids. I never knew this, and it is very good information! The article also mentions exercising can increase your imagination, therefore allowing people to be more creative in school, and at work. I never noticed this until I read this article. This can help with coming up with new ideas. I believe this is true because I normally think about other scenarios in my head while I exercise. It is almost like “thinking time” in the shower! I learned many new facts in this article, and I related to many of the statements that Suzuki wrote. I really hope that this world will become a lot more active and productive, so we can come up with new, innovative ideas! It would be nice to develop new ways to become healthier, and make sure that exercise is included in everyone’s daily routines.

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This is what I think about exercise!!! 

Digestive and Immune System..Together??

The digestive and immune system are actually a tag team when it comes to cleansing your body. I never even knew that these two systems worked together. According to Livestrong.com, the digestive tract is always exposed to outside substances, making the tract susceptible to bacteria. Thanks to the immune system, the tract is detoxified by the immune system. The digestive system also depends on the immune system, when it comes to breaking down food with saliva. Also, acid in the stomach breaks down food with the help of the immune system, which gets rid of bacterias. Also, the IBS Treatment Center says that the immune system helps protect the digestive tube from bad bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. The immune system is crucial to the intestines, to help cleanse the body, since intestines can hold a lot of toxins of the body. Since athletes are very active, it is important for them to detoxify their system. According to TeamIsAgGenix, athletes can make sure that they have a lot of protein, whether it be food, or protein powder. Also obtaining a lot of vitamin D is very important to the system, so getting sunshine can push the immune system up. Exercise alone can actually give your immune system a huge boost, so athletes can have a higher immune systems than a normal person. Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to a healthy immune system, so BE ACTIVE!!untitled-presentation

What is Nutrition to Me? (Quickwrite)

My views on nutrition drastically changed when I was in 8th grade. During 8th grade until now, I have eaten very healthy, and watch how many desserts I eat. My parents never let me eat dessert when I was younger, so I grew into the habit of not eating too many desserts, and junk food. I would always eat fairly healthy. When I got to high school, during the summer, I watched the movie, Supersize Me. I never ate a lot of fast food before I watched that movie, but after I watched it, I never ate fast food again from McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc. During freshman year, I maintained a healthy diet, a regular exercise regime, and a regular water intake. I realized that my metabolism was not as fast as it used to be, and I really wanted make sure that I maintained this healthy diet of mine.

 

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Image by Takopix

My dad was a big influence in my healthy eating because one time he got his blood pressure measured, and it was fairly high, so he started to eat healthy. Since he is the cook of the house, he would give us very healthy meals, and I loved it. During the holidays sophomore year, I noticed that I started getting off track with my diet and exercise, and I started to gain a lot of weight. Obviously it was not obvious to everyone, but it was obvious to me that I gained almost 20 pounds. I started to make sure to exercise daily after that, and to really focus on my diet. I did not restrict myself to dessert, but I made sure to limit my intake. I remembered that I needed to go back to my old ways, and that I needed to start to work out regularly. During the summer of junior year, I randomly made a bet with my dad. We needed to see who could be a vegetarian the longest. I never really ate meat, so  I took the challenge, and I have been a vegetarian ever since. I lost 10 pounds after adapting this lifestyle, and I exercise almost everyday. I research healthy foods all the time, and this is one of the biggest areas of interest for me.

Goals and Expectations

As the year comes to an end, I would love to make my let semester of high school one that I will never forget. I would like to keep my priorities straight, and make sure that I am still on top of things. While doing this, I also want to be worry and stress free, so I can have enjoy time with my friends and family, as I move on to college!

Here is an infograph showing what engages me! :

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HAPPY HEART

The leading cause of death for women in the U.S. is actually heart disease. Many people would never know this, including me. Of course until I learned it in Sports Medicine.

Two of the causes of heart disease is diet and exercise. This is very understandable since lack of exercise increases risk of heart disease and strokes. Not having a good diet and being overweight can cause heart failure, and high blood pressure (MedlinePlus).

With that being said, my partner in sports med and I have created an app that helps improve the health of the heart. Here is the design thinking process we went through:

Empathize

I am designing an app for those who do not know how to care of their heart, or do not have a healthy lifestyle, but would like to start living one.  

Define 

Many people need help on keeping their heart healthy. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. Some people may not know how to take care of their heart, or the type of food or exercise one needs to keep their heart healthy. Some people need an easier way to track their diet, and health, but also while managing their heart health.

Ideate

This is why my partner and I created an app called “Happy Heart.” On this app, you can find recipes, exercises, and track the status of your own heart. The recipes include heart healthy recipes, including a list of heart healthy olds, such as salmon, oatmeal, and berries. The app also includes exercises that target heart health, such as running, and shows exercises that do not require gym equipment, or machines. Also, the user may also include what they ate, and how long they exercised, along with what kind of exercises they did. After they have done this, a picture of a heart will show how much they have improved, and see if their heart is happy, or unhappy :(. The picture will show the improvement of the heart, and will motivate the user more to keep their heart healthy, and live a better lifestyle.

Prototype

We created a test app, that shows all the tabs for exercises and examples of recipes that we would include in the real app. Since we could not design the picture of the heart, we left that out of our prototype, and if we wanted to purse the app even further, we would find a way to include it in to the app. We used the service Appy Pie  This system was very easy to use.

Test

We gave the app to a few girls, and they said that they would be interested in using it, if it were to be a real thing! They said they wanted to improve their lifestyle, and this app would inspire them to do so, since it is easy to use. A girl said if we included the picture of the heart, she would be motivated to keep her heart healthier, and it would be a nice touch that would improve the app.

Here are some pictures of the app:

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I HEART Sports Med!

As weeks have gone by in Sports Med, and learning more and more about the body and how it works, I believe by far learning about the heart was the most interesting section! We learned about how a lot of aspects of our daily lives and how our daily activities can largely affect our heart health! Many aspects such as diet, diabetes, and smoking can largely affect our hearts, and its ability to do its job!

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Also, I finally learned what the numbers from our blood pressure readings actually mean!

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The class got to read a case study about a retired couple, and their heart complications. Seeing all of their daily habits and test results gave us an insight about how what we do can really affect our health, and inspires me to really take care of myself, especially when I am older! (which is a long ways away ;))

We also got to learn more about our heart by getting connected to an EKG sensor (electrocardiogram). We learned about the waves in a heart beat, and what looks normal, and what a heartbeat would look like if one was having a heart attack! We learned about that the waves in a heartbeat are actually labeled. The different components are the P,Q,R,S, and T waves. All of the waves represent a different occurrence in the heartbeat. Many electrical heartbeat patterns can be affected by different aspects, such as exercise. Luckily, during our lab, I was the one that was connected to the sensor! Even though my heartbeat looked abnormal, I was convinced it actually was not abnormal, it was just a technology error.

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Me connected to the EKG sensor!

Here are some quotes from my classmates:

“The EKG lab was interesting because we got to see how you can measure your heart rate!” – Krystal Masis

“Last week was GREAT!!”- Mavis Lui

This week made me more interested in pursuing a job in the medical field! After this week all I can say is I HEART Sports Med!

#DoNowUTurf

The love of turf in the sports field has revolutionized to now being on almost all fields. Many sports such as football, soccer, and softball/baseball use turf, and is either loved by the athlete, or despised by an athlete. Although there are many positives and advantages to having turf, such as low maintenance, and water maintenance, there are still many hazards regarding turf. Turf can contain a lot of chemicals, that are not good for the brain, and can cause dizziness, and unconsciousness. Since I am an athlete, and I have played on turf, I can actually relate to being dizzy on turf. Whenever I play on turf, I tend to get headaches, just because of the chemical smell on the turf. Also, when there is hot weather, turf makes the air a lot hotter, therefore causing more headache and dizziness. Lastly, turf can be extremely dangerous to play on, since there is not a lot of friction between an athlete’s shoe, and the turf. Since turf does not have the regular mud, soil, or texture that grass has, it is easier to slip. Even though there are still many advantages to the installation of turf, I believe that we should hold off on installing turf, and stick to real grass, even though maintenance is needed. There are not health risks, and it is a lot cooler, and safer. Untitled Banner

Eradication of Polio?

Image uploaded by Alan Liefting
Image uploaded by Alan Liefting

Polio has been around for hundreds of years. Now, the disease is so close to the eradication all together. Since there are so many efforts to eradicate this disease once and for all, I believe that what has been started should be finished once and for all. If we do not try to eradicate this disease, the disease may arise again, and we may see an increase in cases. My question is: Why wait?

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