I grew up in a small town in Sweden, and our house was next to our school. The school had a big sports field where we did track and field and all kinds of team sports; in the winter the field was frozen and we played hockey and bandy, a Nordic sport that resembles field hockey, but on skates. In the summer time, we played pick-up soccer.
There were always tons of kids available to play. They showed up after school or even throughout the weekends, and you could play all day and all night if you wanted. Only the sun setting would hold us back from playing another hour. Since I lived so close, my mom could give shout for me when it was time for lunch or dinner. It was heaven.
Soccer was easy for me – I was not the fastest but since I was a tennis player, I had a natural way of handling the ball. I practiced passing, shooting and of course all kinds of fancy dribbling techniques. The only thing I did not like was heading the ball. It hurt and my ears started to ring if the ball was pumped too hard. Of course, I had to do it when the game forced me to, but I really dreaded it.
These past weeks, I have been glued to the TV, keeping up with the Women’s World Cup. Watching these remarkable athletes is truly amazing. The week of the USA and Sweden games were especially enjoyable. It’s been a long rivalry; and we are going to see a tremendous battle. I know the game will be awesome, and I hope they will all stay safe on the field.
When we started our company and developed dental protection for sports, we hired Mark, our EVP of Business development. He played college soccer for San Diego State, and he told me about his buddy who went pro in MSL but had to retire due to concussions. Mark told me of another friend who got an extensive number of headaches from heading the ball repeatedly, up to thousands of times, and finally all these hits added up to concussions. At the end; chronic headaches forced them to quit.
Stories like that inspired me to develop SISU Sense together with our engineering team. I envisioned making a smart mouthguard that combined what we had achieved with SISU (a thin, super hard, smart, polymer-based mouthguard) with common sense electronics that accurately could measure hits to the head. While other manufacturers have catered to primarily pro and college teams and coaches, we have focus on making sure every athlete and their loved ones, can keep track of head impacts, small and big, so athletes like Mark’s friend do not have to wake up one day, realizing they cannot play their favorite sport anymore.
So, have fun at the soccer field but just remember: Every. Hit. Matters!