NFL quickie concussion-check on horizon?

By Scott Ostler

February 4, 2016

Photo: Scott Ostler

Hi-tech brain scanner can help detect concussions in a jiffy.

Is the NFL really trying to make its game safer and protect its players?

That’s the message the league seemed to be sending out at Thursday’s Health and Safety press conference at the Super Bowl media headquarters.

A couple of the innovations that were showcased, that might eventually show up on NFL football fields:

--A waffle-type cushion installed under artificial turf, to absorb shock and lessen trauma to bodies and heads. The cushioning doesn’t change the feel of the turf for the players and doesn’t affect cutting, running and jumping.

A rep of the Detroit company, Viconic, says the stuff is ready to roll and his company is talking to a few NFL teams, but no deals have been struck. The rep said fewer than 10 percent of synthetic-turf fields have any kind of cushioning.

--A brain-scan device (see photo) that gives an instant read-out of various brain functions, providing the sideline doctor with a more measureable and definitive diagnosis of head trauma. Was Joe Quarterback concussed? Just check the read-out.

Michael Singer of BrainScope says the device will be submitted soon for FDA approval and potentially could be available for use in the NFL next season.

Is the league really charging into a new era of player safety? We’ll see.

Scott Ostler is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. E-mail: sostler@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @scottostler

 

Scott Ostler

Sports Columnist