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Xenith Scientific Advisory Board Mission Statement

Xenith's Scientific Advisory Board brings together independent experts in athlete health, brain science, and sports technology to ensure all Xenith product is driven by leading-edge scientific research and grounded in rigorous R&D. Board members advise the Xenith executive team on ground-breaking research, state-of-the-art care, and the next horizon of scientific development in athlete health and performance. The Board provides strategic guidance for Xenith's scientific research efforts and identifies opportunities for product innovation in line with Xenith's commitment to providing the best protective solutions to athletes at all levels of competition.

Meet the Board Members

Darryl Conway, MA, AT, ATC

Senior Associate Athletic Director, Student-Athlete Health and Welfare, University of Michigan Athletics

Darryl Conway serves as the Senior Associate Athletic Director – Student-Athlete Health and Welfare at the University of Michigan. In that role, he oversees Athletic Medicine, Performance Science, Performance Nutrition, Athletic Counseling, Olympic Strength and Conditioning, Performance Science, and Equipment Operations personnel, as well as serving as the liaison to Team Physicians from Michigan Medicine and the University of Michigan University Health Services. Darryl came to the University of Michigan in 2013 from the University of Maryland, where he served as the Assistant Athletic Director – Sports Medicine. Darryl has also worked full-time as an athletic trainer at the University of Central Florida, the University of Northern Iowa, Morgan State University, the University of Delaware, and the New York Jets Football Club. Darryl holds a Masters’ Degree from Adelphi University (’95) in Sports Medicine and Sports Management and a Bachelors’ Degree from the University of Delaware (’93) in Physical Education Studies and Athletic Training.

Darryl’s professional interests lie in the fields of On-Field Management of Cervical Spine Injuries; Athletics Risk Management; Emergency Planning; Catastrophic and Crisis Response; Tourniquets, Wound Packing, and Advanced Wound Care; and Opioid Overdose Management; and he is a frequent presenter at regional and national meetings on these topics. In addition to being a certified member of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), Darryl has worked with various SWAT Teams as their Tactical Medic and Athletic Trainer and as a volunteer EMT, and has been an American Red Cross first aid, CPR, and AED instructor for greater than 25 years. Darryl also serves as an Instructor with Sports Medicine Concepts and Stop the Bleed. He has worked as an Athletic Trainer at the Winter X Games, Red Bull Crashed Ice, Red Bull Rampage, and Red Bull X Fighters. Darryl is a member of the Spine Injury in Sports Group (SISG).

Mehmet Kurt, PhD

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Translational Molecular and Imaging Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Professor Mehmet Kurt is the director of the Kurtlab and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He also holds an adjunct faculty position at the Translational Molecular and Imaging Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Kurt received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014 on developing novel nonlinear system identification methods. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the Departments of Bioengineering and Radiology at Stanford University from 2014-2017.

Dr. Kurt’s primary research area of interest is brain biomechanics and neuromechanics imaging. His research has been highlighted in various media outlets such as Reuters, Newsweek, CBS News, and Washington Post. His research group is currently sponsored by multiple grants from NSF and NIH. His awards include NSF Vizzies Best Scientific Visualization Award, People's Choice (2018), Annals of Biomedical Engineering "Editor's Choice Award" (2017), Thrasher Research Foundation Early Career Award (2015) and the Thomas Bernard Hall Prize for the Best Paper of the Year (2011).

Matthew Lorincz, MD, PhD

Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology, University of Michigan

Co-Director, Michigan NeuroSport, Michigan Medicine

Co-Director, Michigan Concussion Center Clinical Core, University of Michigan

Dr. Matthew Lorincz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan. He is Co-Director of the Michigan Sports Neurology clinic, Michigan NeuroSport; Co-director of the Michigan Concussion Center Clinical core; and on the Michigan Concussion Center Executive committee. Dr. Lorincz is a team physician for the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, USA Hockey, and US Ski and Snowboard. He has also served as a consultant to the National Basketball Association. Dr. Lorincz earned his MD and PhD at Wayne State University and completed residency and fellowship training in the Department of Neurology at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Lorincz specializes in Sports Neurology with an emphasis on treatment of acute concussions and the long-term consequences of concussion, as well as management of neurological disorders in athletes. Dr. Lorincz’s current research interests are in optimizing recovery of sport related concussion and the long-term consequences of concussion in sport. His ongoing projects include investigating quantitative biomarkers for objective concussion diagnosis, evaluating the effects of early vestibular rehabilitation and novel physical therapy interventions following sport-related concussion, and determining markers for safe return-to-sport following concussion. His team is developing a clinical approach to tracking the spectrum of symptoms thought to be caused by a history of repetitive mild head trauma to better understand the long-term risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) from sport.

Jennifer Sacheck, PhD, FACSM

Sanofi Professor of Prevention and Wellness and Chair, the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, The Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University

Adjunct Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

Dr. Jennifer Sacheck is the Sanofi Professor of Prevention and Wellness and Department Chair of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. She is also an adjunct professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University where she served on the faculty at the for thirteen years. Dr. Sacheck earned her Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from Tufts University and completed her postdoctoral training from Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Sacheck’s research focuses on the impact of both diet and physical activity on health outcomes, with an emphasis on pediatric health disparities. Her research has spanned laboratory studies to community-based research where she translates the latest science on nutrition and physical activity into real world applicability. Funding for research studies has included grants from the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, and several foundations. Ongoing NIH-funded research includes the examination of nutrition and physical activity programs on cognitive health and academic achievement in underserved schoolchildren and more recently on improving child physical literacy and activity through school- and home-based engagement. She has conducted physical activity surveillance work in several lower-income urban school districts across the U.S. and is currently examining the impact of school-based “coaches” from low-income communities on improving physical fitness, physical activity and socio-emotional learning among underserved middle school children. Dr. Sacheck was an appointed member of the National Academy of Sciences committee on Fitness and Health Outcomes in Youth and is also a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, where she actively participates on advisory committees on national health policy and youth sports and health initiatives.

Jessica Deneweth Zendler, PhD

Sport Technology Consultant, Zendler Scientific

Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan

Dr. Jessica Deneweth Zendler is a biomechanist and sport technology consultant. She also holds an adjunct faculty position in the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. Dr. Zendler specializes in the application of technology to enhance athlete health and performance. Dr. Zendler previously served as the Chief Scientific Officer at Impellia, a performance analytics software company, and as Director of the Michigan Performance Research Laboratory in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Zendler’s research interests include the use body-worn sensors to conduct on-field athlete assessment, sports injury prevention and rehabilitation, and the development of sport equipment and apparel for performance enhancement and injury prevention. Dr. Zendler received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering and Kinesiology from the University of Michigan in 2013.

Scientific Advisory Board

Research and Authored Papers

Title
VIDEO ANALYSIS OF HEAD IMPACT PARAMETERS IN YOUTH FOOTBALL

Citation
Gyemi DL, Lovis ER, Town CM, Jadischke R, Andrews DM. Video analysis of head impact parameters in youth football. XXVII Congress of the International Society of Biomechanics and 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics – Calgary: 2019.

Description
While a large amount of research has been focused on professional, college, and high school football, very little is known about how and when head impacts occur in youth football. This information is critical for designing helmets that are optimized for youth athletes. This study represents the first examination of head impacts in youth tackle football using gold-standard video methods. Researchers recorded games played by Mite (4-5 years), Tyke (6-9 years), and Atom (9-12 years) teams using stationary action cameras placed around the football field. They recorded details about each head impact (e.g., frequency, type, mechanism, source, location on head, etc.). This is an ongoing study, but early results suggest that head-to-ground impacts were the most common type of head impact (versus head-to-head or head-to-body impacts). Researchers also found that helmet impact locations differed among the three age groups. This suggests that as players progress in their tackling technique they may experience different types of head impacts, which should be considered in helmet design.

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Title
PRESENTING SAFETY MESSAGES USING A MULTI-CHANNEL APPROACH

Citation
Hall SM, Frantz JP, Zendler JM, Goulet GC. Xenith presents safety messages using multi-channel approach. 3rd Annual Boston University Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Conference: 2018.

Description
All tackle football helmets are required to carry specific warning labels, but manufacturers can provide additional labels to better inform consumers. We partnered with Applied Safety + Ergonomics (Ann Arbor, MI) to develop a series of science-driven safety communications for players and families to learn about the risk of head injury from tackle football and to discover opportunities to limit this risk. Researchers investigated the latest scientific literature about head health in football to determine the most critical information to share with athletes, parents, and coaches, which included specifically addressing concerns about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Labels were systematically tested with players and parents to identify optimal placement in the helmet and ensure the safety messages were understandable. In addition to the labels, an online Safety Briefing for parents and players to access the latest scientific findings about head health safety in tackle football was created to be an up-to-date resource for players and parents.

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Title
DEVELOPMENT OF A METHODOLOGY AND PRELIMINARY ANALYSIS OF HEAD IMPACTS IN AMERICAN 7V7 NON-TACKLE FOOTBALL

Citation
Jadischke R, Zendler J, Lovis E, Elliott A, Goulet GC. Development of a methodology and preliminary analysis of head impacts in American 7-v-7 non-tackle football. Proceedings of the IRCOBI Conference-Florence: 2019. 615–6.

Description
Video methods have been used to gather important information about head impacts in professional football, soccer, rugby, and Australian rules football. We adapted these methods to study head impacts in youth sports. Researchers conducted simulated head impacts outdoors using dummies to test different camera settings and distances from action. The speed and energy of head impacts was calculated using advanced computer methods (3-D model-based image matching), which uses software to track the position and rotation of the head. To verify the accuracy of our method, we compared our results to gold-standard reference data. Errors with our method were similar to previous studies in professional sport (10.7% for linear velocity, 21.8% for rotational velocity). We tested this method during live 7v7 tournament games where we placed 15 cameras around the field to record all head or body impact plays.

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Title
QUANTITATIVE A ND QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS OF HEAD AND BODY IMPACTS IN AMERICAN 7V7 NON-TACKLE FOOTBALL

Citation
Jadischke R, Zendler J, Lovis E, Elliott A, Goulet GC. Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Head and Body Impacts in American 7v7 Non-Tackle Football. BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine: 2019. In Review.

Description
The objective of this study was to expand current understanding of head contact in competitive non-tackle American football. While head contacts have been studied in tackle football, very little research has happened for non-tackle football, especially for youth and high school players. This study represents the first examination of head impacts in non-tackle football using gold-standard video methods. Researchers filmed 48 elite 7v7 tournament games played by 12U, 14U, and high school teams and documented every head impact, including the location on the head, the type of play, and where it occurred on the field, suing previously-validated methods . They used advanced 3-D model-based image matching to estimate the speed and energy of typical head impacts. The incidence rate of head contact was found to be low (3.5 head contacts per 1000 athlete-plays). 75% of head contacts were caused by a head-to-ground impact, while head-to-head contacts were uncommon. Most contact occurred to the upper rear or side of the head. Head-to-ground impact was associated with a maximum pre-impact head speed of 5.9 ± 2.2 m/s and a change in head speed of 3.0 ± 1.1 m/s.

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Title
ANALYSIS OF NEISS HEAD INJURIES AMONG YOUTH IN SELECTED SPORTS

Description
Non-tackle football (7v7, flag, touch) has more participants in the US than tackle football, yet hardly any research has been done to understand the types of injuries in the sport. While it is generally believed that sport poses a lower injury risk than other contact sports, it is important to have research to quantify the nature of non-tackle head injuries. Researchers at Applied Safety + Ergonomics, in partnership with Xenith, analyzed NEISS injury reports from 2014 to 2018 for patients 6-18 years old who reported head or face injuries related to non-tackle football (organized or unorganized, flag or touch). NEISS is a publicly-available dataset that gives a national sampling of patients presenting to US emergency rooms. They extracted injuries reported for basketball, soccer, and tackle football during the same time frame and compared them to non-tackle football. Since the number of athletes participating in each sport nationwide varies, they used Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) single-sport participation reports to compare injury incidence across different sports. Head and face injury rates for non-tackle football were lower than for soccer, basketball, or tackle football. The most common areas of injury in non-tackle were the head or the face, while eye, ear, and mouth injuries only occurred in 10% of cases. The most common injury reported was a laceration (cut). Concussions occurred in non-tackle football but were less frequent than the other sports. Severe head injuries, such as skull fracture, were very uncommon.

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