May 21, 2018
Upgraded Helmet

Introduced by Riddell, a new smart football helmet records feedback when a player sustains a significant head impact. This makes it easier for athletic trainers and football coaches to track and analyze hits to the head during practices and games.

An article from SportTechie explains that the Riddell InSite Training Tool (ITT) allows coaches and athletic trainers to be notified immediately when a head impact hits. This update builds on the company’s InSite Impact Response System that was launched in 2014 and now gives detailed head-injury analytics about the magnitude of a hit and where on the head a hit occurred.

Another piece of information that’s incorporated in the ITT is an analysis that compares the hit with a dataset of more than five million head impacts. This will give coaches and athletic trainers a quantified way of seeing day-by-day hits.

“We’re turning the helmet into a tool that can actively reduce impact exposure to a player,” Thad Ide, Senior Vice President of Research and Product Development at Riddell, said. “Football is moving into the information age and this is going to provide [coaches and athletic trainers] with information they can use to hopefully take football to a better, safer place.”

For the Mustangs football program at Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Fla., that safer place includes outfitting all of the players with the ITT helmets, according to an article from Along with the updated gear, the Mustangs have also shifted to a rugby style of tackling to emphasize head safety.

“When I first got here, I audited what we had,” Christopher Culton, Head Football Coach at Lakewood Ranch, said. “There were some things (equipment) we were going to have to get anyway. I met with some parents to see what their major concern was, and they were really concerned with concussions.

“I presented it to Shawn Trent (Lakewood Ranch’s athletic director),” Culton continued. “We did a lot of research and came up with a plan. At our size, there’s nobody in the county who is doing what we are doing, according to Riddell. We’re more outfitted with this technology than some NFL teams.”

The Lakewood Ranch football program purchased 120 ITT helmets at $500 each out of its budget for next season. All of the players in the program, from freshmen through varsity team members, will be equipped with the helmets in order to track the head impacts they sustain over time.

“I’ll have a monitor, and coach Culton will have a monitor,” Sydney Suppa, SCAT, ATC, Athletic Trainer at Lakewood Ranch, said. “It’ll be about the size of a cellphone. If a kid takes a hit that’s above a specific threshold, it will alert me with who it is, their number and where the hit was. With that, we can say, ‘Oh, you need to pull out Billy so we can check him for a concussion.’ It’s great for me because, obviously, there’s 120 guys out here. I’m not going to be able to see everything. This is like a second pair of eyes.”

Image by Cpl. Antwaun Jefferson.

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