New football helmet technology will help schools monitor player hits

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OMAHA, Neb (WOWT) -- Football practice for area high school teams began in Nebraska last week.

Along with the new season comes some new equipment designed to give trainers and coaches assistance in helping determine how hard players are being struck in the head.

Omaha Bryan High School decided to hold its first practice at midnight last Monday, which was exciting enough for these players, but there was something new:

“We're handing out those new helmets tomorrow morning,” said Bryan Head Coach Tyler Johnson.

These helmets are designed to help coaches and trainers determine if a player could have a concussion.

“Basically, they monitor how many hits each player takes so it will help us monitor whether or not a player gets a concussion,” Johnson said.

It’s called the Riddell Speed Flex Insight Helmet. It’s equipped with five sensors and is designed to monitor the intensity of hits to the head.

“So we have one on the front, one on the crown, right side, left side and the back of the helmet,” said Creighton Prep Athletic Trainer Bill Kleber said, as he showed it to trainers.

“When a player gets hit, where they get hit at kind of the level of force that they got hit with, what that does is that allows us to go back and plug that data into the computer,” Kleber said. “You can monitor it during games as well. We'll have our kind of sideline pager on during the game and this is set up so that an alarm will go off if a hit is registered above the 95th percentile, or if a group of hits registers to that certain level over a period of time.”

The helmet and all its technology won't prevent concussions but it helps trainers determine where, when and how a player suffered a potential concussion.

“This isn't a diagnostic tool. What it does do is say, 'OK, we should probably check that kid out,'” Kleber said.

It also helps coaches determine if players are using proper technique. The hope is to reduce the possibility of serious head injuries in games or in practice.

If the data shows severe hits, trainers can immediately go into their protocols for treating a player.

Creighton Prep bought helmets for all five of its football teams—200 helmets in all.They cost around $400 each.

All Omaha metro schools also bought the helmets.

Read the original version of this article at wowt.com.