Hard-Knock Life

UAB Magazine / Fall 2015 /
Two football players barrel toward each other, shoulders wide, muscles taut and engaged. There’s an audible crash, and then both players crumple to the ground, still and silent. Luckily—in this case—the collision victims aren’t expected to move. They’re crash test dummies, reenacting football’s hardest hits for UAB engineers at the Barber Laboratory for Advanced Safety Education and Research (BLASER) at Birmingham’s Barber Motorsports Park.

The BLASER dummies are among a growing repertoire of tools used by UAB researchers to study the problem of sports-related concussions. If the dummies were living athletes, they might have come out of the play noticing a headache and ringing in their ears, or feeling dizzy, light-headed, or confused—all tell-tale symptoms of a concussion. Across the country, athletes experience millions of concussions every year; on any given fall weekend, the injury sidelines players from NFL, college, and high-school teams. And it’s not just football—soccer, basketball, wrestling, ice skating, and bicycling (to name just a few) all have their share of concussions… Read more at UAB Magazine.