In 2013, when the 32 teams of the National Football League (NFL) clashed on the field, they had the requisite uniforms, helmets, playbooks and dramatic physicality that screaming fans expect. However, they also had Post Alley–based X2 Biosystems’ concussion management system on tablets in the hands of trainers, coaches and team physicians on the sidelines. For the first time in NFL history, its sideline staff monitored head impacts in real time and watched for signs of possible brain injury or concussion, prepared to remove players from the game, if necessary, to protect them from incurring additional hits that could make a mild brain injury much more severe or even life-threatening. “Christoph and I never thought our technology platform would be mandated for all 32 NFL teams,” Able says, “or that we’d be working with the Department of Defense and with potentially every youth and pro sports league around the world. It’s been an amazing three years.”
The Full List: Most Influential People of 2013
Their finger prints are all over Seattle. From protecting honeybees to regulating marijuana to popping and locking, these 54 men and women (and in one case, a machine) are shaping our neighborhoods, economy, attitudes and future. In the case of our person of the year—for the first time in our nine years of compiling this list, it’s a tie!—the impact is on a global scale. We may not always like the direction they are taking us in but it’s hard to deny: these folks are taking us somewhere.