NOVA: Davidson Professor and Student Using Data to Make Football Safer
"Nova Next," an offshoot of the legendary PBS science show, "Nova," recently featured a Davidson College professor and student who are collaborating to make football safer.
Math professor Tim Chartier and Kendall Thomas '19, a math major and goal keeper for the Davidson women's soccer team, partnered with Athlete Intelligence, a manufacturer of impact sensors that are used to track head impacts in sports. Using mouthguards that feature embedded gyroscopes, Athlete Intelligence gathered a huge amount of data on head impacts in football, and they turned to Chartier and Thomas to mine the data for insights.
Chartier and Thomas learned, among other things, that dangerous head impacts occur more frequently after players are fatigued. That causes their heads to drop, which leads to more dangerous hits to the crown and back of the helmet.
Thomas and fellow math major George Baldini '19 reflected on their research with Chartier.