SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --As part of the lead up to Super Bowl 50 the National Football League is showing off technologies it is funding to help prevent concussions among players.
The show was timely. A week after the NFL released numbers showing an almost 60 percent increase in reported concussions last season, they brought in medical experts to talk about it
"I believe very strongly that the NFL has an unmatched opportunity and platform to affect change when it comes to player health," said Betsy Nabel, the NFL's chief medical advisor.
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The league showed off companies funded by something called the Head Health Initiative. These firms have used grants to come up with projects to try and protect players from head injury, like a helmet that uses special shock absorbing structure to reduce brain-rattling force.
"When you hit it gives a little bit, like a car bumper and redistributes the force," said Samuel Brown, a neurologist.
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One strange looking invention tries to diagnose concussions by examining brain waves.
"We look at particular patterns within the brain and then use a sophisticated algorithm to decipher those patterns," said Michael Singer, the CEO of Brainscope.
The NFL has fought a public relations battle, with players filing suit saying they weren't told about the dangers. And even a big screen movie, "Concussion," about the doctor who first recognized concussions could lead to a deadly condition called CTE.
Retired players worry about what will happen to them.
"As a linebacker if you don't know that you're hitting people with your head and there could be a problem, I mean you're kind of crazy if you don't realize that," said Chris Draft, former NFL linebacker.
Even if these products prove effective there's still one thing scientists will have to deal with, the fact that players get bigger and stronger every year.
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