Concussion Coach

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Concussions can have a severe and lasting impact on individual, and while coaches and athletes alike are aware of this danger, many concussions continue to go unrecognized. In football especially, concussions occur regularly due to the contact nature of the sport. While better protection and more careful playing an be used to prevent players from getting concussions, it is just as important to diagnose and treat concussions that do occur. Most concussions deliver ~95 g's to the body, so by measuring the amount of force applied to a player's head, the likelihood of a concussion could be monitored and the player could be checked when enough force was applied to cause a concussion.

Team Members

Colton Farley
Darby Hakken
Emma Zastrow
Nathan Schmetter (TA)


A successful project will require:

1. Accelerometers be installed in a football helmet in a way that force can be detected in all directions

2. The encapsulation of the Arduino and any necessary battery packs and circuitry in the football helmet by creating a 3-D printed shell

3. Use an Arduino mini to detect forces capable of causing a concussion and transmitting the signal to an Arduino uno

4. Implementation of an LCD interface to transmit Arduino data from all players to coaches


1. Being able to sense force equally throughout the helmet instead of distinct points where the accelerometer is located
2. Learning how to program an arduino and using it effectively
3. Learning how to use CAD and 3D print
4. Coding an interface to show an up to date status of the players helmets
5. Understanding radio frequencies and learning how to implement them
5. Communication between arduinos

Gantt Chart




  • adafruit (LCD screen, aruino pro mini, and accelerometer) - $9.13
  • Sparkfun (RF module transmitter and receiver) - $5.74


Design and Solutions

Coach's Pad
The Coach's pad is meant to be kept on the sidelines so that the coach can see the force inflicted on a player. The will allow the coach to determine when a player should be pulled out of the game instead of it being up to the player to know when it is serious. This information will hopefully decrease the number of concussions that go unreported, The coach's pad consists of a 20x4 LCD screen, arduino uno and 434 MHz RF receiver.

  • We used the liquid crystal library for the lcd and the basic set up for the LCD was found at [1].
  • At one point in the project we had problems with the text on the LCD being clear, and the potentiometer was not really helping with the clarity of the screen. We found that using a stronger resistor yielded the results that we wanted. Since the resistors in the lab were not labeled, it was trial and error to find a resistor that worked well.
  • We used the hello world example to get used to the LCD screen and the liquid crystal library.
  • The RF receiver was set up using the diagram from [2].
  • We initially just printed the message received, which was simply the force. We then added in a message to make it more user friendly. The message was added on the receiver end for simplicity since there was only one player in our set up. However, for a whole team, the message would be added onto the transmitter side to distinguish the player number. This would not be difficult since the message can be sent as a string with the whole message including the player number and force magnitude.
Coach's Pad Circuit