Entrepreneur hopes helmet sensor will be like pitch count for contact sports (video)

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A technology startup has developed a brain monitor for football, hockey and lacrosse helmets designed to alert coaches when a player suffers a hard impact to the head. Brain Sentry is raising fresh capital to transition the company from research and development mode to focus on marketing and sales.

When a player gets a hit to the head, a light on the sensor flashes to warn the coach that he or she may need to be examined or taken out of the game.

CEO Greg Merrill told MedCity News that it sees the potential for the device to do for contact sports what the pitch count has done for baseball — to track when a player has had enough. But he stressed the monitor is not a diagnostic device.


The company intends to market the monitor to youth football, hockey and lacrosse leagues on a subscription basis for roughly $40 per season. It estimates the youth sports market opportunity for the monitor at about $250 million annually.

Merrill said the Bethesda, Maryland-based company, founded in 2011, has raised $700,000 this year and pitched at the Angel Venture Forum in Washington, D.C. seeking an additional $300,000.

“Investors have been very receptive,” Merrill said. “It doesn’t take a lot to understand what we’re doing here and what the value proposition is.”

Merrill was previously the founder and CEO of medical simulator developer HT Medical Systems, acquired by Immersion Corp. in 2000 in a $42 million deal.

With the revelations about the long-term health problems concussions can cause, there has been a lot of attention on high school sports teams and what coaches can do to ensure players get examined when they suffer possible head injuries. Medical device companies have also developed tools that can flag potential concussions (here, here and here).

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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