A lot of the chatter surrounding football lately has been more about health effects off-the-field rather than the play on it. Player safety is at the forefront of many players and parents’ minds as stories of concussion mishandling and new cases of CTE are rampant. Many parents, including the president of the United States, are now expressing hesitance to let their sons play the nation’s most popular game. With the help of lawmakers and X2 Biosystems, some Mississippians are looking to put local parents’ hearts at ease.
“The lessons you learn in sports are invaluable and make you get up and be responsible,” said Ty Bauer. “I never want a kid to miss out on sports because of fear.”
Bauer is a broker for Coker & Palmer out of Jackson that was part of the investment banking firm that performed the last capital raise for X2 and was so taken by the cause of player safety that he formed MindMatters, a nonprofit whose goal is to equip every underprivileged kid in Mississippi access to X2 BioSystems technology.
X2 is a concussion software that allows an athlete to attach an X-Patch behind their ear, and track the severity of the hits they are taking. The patches charge on a charge pad and can go anywhere on the head where it makes a lot of contact with bone.
The patches correspond with an app that can be purchased on iTunes, that shows color-coded arrows by how hard the G-force impact was on the hit, including a map of the hits. Protected under HIPA, the results can only be seen by those the player (if over 18) or the guardians wish to have access, ranging from parents, coaches, trainers to physicians. The return to play can be as low as 90 seconds and offers more complete results for the athlete.
“Concussions are like bruises,” said Bauer. “It’s not always the first time you get hit there, it’s those second, third and fourth hits that can do the most damage.”
To get started, the athletes record their baseline, which is as unique as a fingerprint. If the player shows irregularities to his baseline after being hit, then physicians can see it and diagnose it easily. The initial patch is $100 and a year of the ICE tracking program is $24 annually. Given the estimated 15-16,000 high school football players in the state of Mississippi, Bauer knows there are financial road blocks with certain families.
X2 has made a license offer to the state to equip every athlete for a year for $300,000. Bauer is working to raise the money and to work with legislature to allocate some money for the cause.
“If there’s $300,000 going to something better than protecting our kids, I’d like to see it.”
Currently, X2 is being used by Stanford, the University of Washington and UCLA, with Stanford requiring the product for not just athletes, but all students. If Mississippi can equip their young athletes with the products, they will be the first state to accomplish the feat.
“It’s not a race, because everyone wins,” said Bauer. “We’re just about making it a safer place for our kids.”
Still, Bauer would like to see his home state as the first state to accomplish the goal.
“Mississippi is last in so many things, last in this, last in that. It would be really cool to be the first state to this and the first state to proactively protect their kids.”
To learn more, watch this instructional video from X2 Biosystems about how to use the patch.