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This Reebok helmet measures how hard I got punched in the face

This Reebok helmet measures how hard I got punched in the face


The Checklight is a sports-science gadget that warns athletes about dangerous head impacts

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Reebok Checklight
Reebok Checklight

Both the scientific research and public awareness around the danger of head trauma from contact sports have been growing rapidly over the last few years. The NFL has been forced into a settlement with former players and many have begun to question the longterm viability of sports like American football and hockey for young children. Into this debate steps the Reebok Checklight, a head-mounted impact indicator that can tell wearers how serious that last tackle really was.

The Checklight was developed by Reebok's advanced concept group, the same geniuses who brought you the iconic Pumps sneakers. By combining an accelerometer and a gyroscope into a small, lightweight package, the Checklight is able to measure both the strength of the impact and how your head is likely to respond to it. "It's not always the direct contact that causes the worst injuries to the brain," explains Paul Litchfield, VP of the advanced concept group. "It's also about how the head shakes afterwards and the rebound effect of the brain against the skull. I call it the bobble-head effect."

"I call it the bobble-head effect."

Unveiled over the summer, the Checklight is available for retail now and sells on Reebok's site for $149.99. Litchfield says athletes from a diverse range of sports have adopted the Checklight, including race-car drivers, equestrian jumpers, and high-flying kitesurfers.

The standard tests for concussions have come under fire in recent weeks, meaning new technology can provide more definitive diagnosis is needed. The Checklight probably isn't the magic bullet, as it shows only three states of impact: green for safe, yellow for moderate, and red for dangerous. The person wearing it still needs to be diagnosed by a medical professional. What the Checklight does deliver is a quick guide on the field to whether or not an impact warrants further investigation. Luckily for me, Carl hits like a kindergartner.