Feb 14, 2018New Technology to Help Promote Football Safety
Athletic trainers, sports medicine professionals, equipment managers, and football coaches continually strive for ways to make the sport of football safer for their athletes. One area often overlooked is making sure that each player’s helmet is properly fit.
Idaho State University recently conducted a study of over 250 high school players in the Intermountain West Region. The study showed that while 97.5 percent of the players wore helmets that require regular, weekly re-inflation, nearly 90 percent of them failed to maintain their bladders on a weekly basis. And even worse, 40 percent of the helmet’s bladders weren’t re-inflated during the entire football season.
HelmetFit is a hand-held, automatic air pump that quickly and accurately inflates the bladder in a player’s helmet with the push of a button. Utilizing smartphone technology and an intuitive, convenient app, HelmetFit saves coaches and equipment managers the headache of inflating each player’s helmet by hand while the player is wearing it.
HelmetFit provides athletic trainers, equipment managers, and coaches an easy, objective way to accomplish this, without relying on a player’s subjective opinion. And it also allows players to stay in the game when they need a quick adjustment to their helmet.
“I always thought the whole process was backwards, and there has to be an easier way of making sure each player is wearing a properly fit helmet,” said Micheal Weatherby, president of HelmetFit. “With HelmetFit, we put the power back into the hands of the people who should be making these decisions.”
HelmetFit works this way: Coaches, athletic trainers, or equipment managers work with the players at the start of the season to make sure the helmet fitsproperly, and the HelmetFit application then stores the data for each player’s ideal fit. The football staff can then re-inflate each player’s helmet to match their baseline—so it can be done without needing the player’s involvement. The staff can check any helmet whenever they want—and through this process they can easily identify bladders that have been punctured.
“I don’t have the time or the manpower to go around and check their helmets while they are on their heads,” Mike Gonzales, Head Athletic Trainer for North Shore (N.Y.) High School said. “This allows me to do it when they aren’t around, and it also takes their bias out of the picture. Once you get over that initial fit, it really does reduce your time. When a player comes up to you during a game or during practice, you literally just have them take a knee, you find their name, and you let the pump do the rest.”
While HelmetFit only recently launched, it is already being seen as a game-changer in the mission to keep players safe. Ohio State University and the San Francisco 49ers have already signed on for the 2018 season—and HelmetFit is affordable for a football program at any level.