Neuronetrix announced today that its brain scanning device will be featured in a new documentary being produced by Todd Sampson for the Discovery Network. The documentary follows extreme athlete, entrepreneur, and amateur neuroscientist, Todd Sampson, as he trains for a mixed-martial arts fight with a professional fighter from the Jackson-Wink MMA Training Academy. As part of the preparation, Sampson, and other top fighters are having brain scans using COGNISION™, a patented, FDA approved device which records cognitive brainwave activity. Sampson is interested in determining if there are any changes in his brain as a result of the pre-fight training.
Sampson, an award winning executive from Leo Burnett, has hosted and produced several documentary series focused on brain plasticity including Redesign My Brain on ABC Australia and Hack My Brain which airs on the Science Channel. These series feature Sampson using modern neuroscience techniques to develop new cognitive skills and to adapt to complex and stressful situations such as skywalking between buildings 21 stories from the ground.
In the episode being filmed at Jackson-Wink, Sampson will undergo only 2 weeks of intensive training and then fight an experienced MMA fighter. Before the training began, Neuronetrix tested Sampson, and 22 other fighters, including longtime UFC stars Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine and Diego “The Dream” Sanchez as well as former Welterweight Champion, Carlos Condit. Neuronetrix also tested a professional NFL running back who was training at the facility.
Jackson-Wink MMA Training Academy is run by Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn who train many of the top fighters in MMA including current World Champ, Holly Holm and former World Champion, Jon Jones. Their training academy is also used by other professional and Olympic athletes. Both Jackson and Winkeljohn are leading advocates of athlete safety and are concerned about the potential long-term damaging cognitive effects of the sport. By testing their athletes with the COGNISION™ System a cognitive baseline can be established and used to compare against if those athletes sustain a head injury during training camp or during a fight. “Developing a cognitive baseline when the athlete is healthy can help us protect the fighters and make sure they don’t do additional damage while their brain is still recovering from an injury sustained in the octagon.” said Winkeljohn/Jackson.
“Everyone is aware of the potential medical problems faced by athletes in contact spots. Greg and Mike are addressing the issues head-on and their efforts will result in a safer sport and fewer long-term problems for their fighters.” said K.C. Fadem, CEO of Neuronetrix. “The relationship we have developed at Jackson-Wink will help Neuronetrix’s efforts in bringing widespread brain testing to contact sports.” he said.