Concussions continue to be one of the most concerning injuries football player incur, with many former players suing the National Football League, saying that for years, the N.F.L. didn't do enough to protect its players. Now, the University of Nebraska's Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior (CB3), is looking to change the way concussions are measured, by using an electrode-covered mesh cap, right from the sidelines.

CB3 has a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine that can track the brain's blood flow. N.C.A.A. chief medical officer, Brian Hainline, and Dennis Molfese, of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine Committee, believe the scanner will make clearer, exactly what an in-game concussion is.

"There's no question it's going to move the dial forward," Hainline told The New York Times. "The big, hoped-for dream would be, let's have a biomarker in brain imaging. If you're to the left of that, you're safe; if you're to the right of it, you're not. That's probably a few years out. But functional brain imaging and blood flow are going to be a very important part of that."

The first development to come out of CB3 is a mesh cap covered in electrodes. If a player was to be hit in the head, the cap would be able to measure the player's response to stimuli, rather than having medical personnel judge whether the player should return to the game based on questions.

"We can get an idea of what area of the brain is being involved in the process, whether the speed of processing is at the rate it should be," Molfese said. "The different areas of the brain that normally integrate information quickly stop doing that, so that's another way we should be able to pick up whether there is an injury or not."

Concussions are a huge problem in football, and they're common not only for professional athletes, but for football players of all age groups. A recent study found that helmet-to-helmet collisions in youth football leagues with kids aged eight to 12 years old resulted in more concussions during games than during practice. It was possible these injuries were happening because football leagues limit contact during practice, and therefore aren't focusing on proper tackling technique, the researchers said.

Meanwhile, professional players are experiencing alarming amounts of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) as well. During the 2012-13 N.F.L. season alone, 160 players experienced head injuries. Because of this the N.F.L. has taken measures to try to reduce TBIs, including moving kickoffs up five yards during the 2010-11 season. This reduced the number of concussions by 43 percent — kickoffs are one of the more chaotic plays in football.

The CB3 is one of many university-affiliated research centers that are looking for better ways to diagnose and treat TBIs in football players and players of other sports.

"There are a lot of things that are very important with the N.C.A.A. as far as the health and safety of the student-athlete," Hainline said, "and concussion is right up there as first and foremost. It's the elephant on the table, and we, with everyone else, we have to solve it."