A sports helmet that raises the alarm if a player suffers concussion is being developed in the hope that it will change behaviour on the pitch.

The Contego, designed by University of Brighton student Nik Hannay, carries sensors which pick up changes to skull pressure and switches on a red light if a concussion is detected.

It also flashes red if there are signs of serious injury, a university spokesman said.

Players and referees would instantly see the light and call for medical assistance, and coaches and doctors on the touchline would be alerted by a signal from the helmet to laptops, tablets and smart phones.

Mr Hannay, 24, who is in his final year of a sustainable product design degree, came up with the idea during a visit to America.

His research revealed 100,000 concussion injuries in the National Football League every year and that 60% came from head-to-head clashes.

The helmet includes a transparent polycarbonate visor that improves peripheral vision but also shows more of the head and face to the opposition, according to the university spokesman.

Mr Hannay said: "Players will see exactly what they are crashing into - people's skulls - and the idea is to discourage players from using their helmets as offensive weapons."

He has developed Contego mainly for American football players and is in contact with an American helmet manufacturing company which is watching developments closely, the university said.

Mr Hannay, who co-owns a graphic design company and hopes to work as a designer for a sports equipment manufacturer, said there is potential for the technology to be used in other sports including boxing, cycling, lacrosse and ice hockey.