how severe are some of those blows our high school football players absorb on the field? We’re about to find out at least in Rockford.
District 205 has jumped on board with Riddell’s new ‘Impact Response System’ helmets. Impact sensor pads are placed inside the liners of helmets. They measure the impact of the blows over five sensor areas.
If a single severe blow or a series of blows are considered dangerous the sensors transmit signals to a handheld device on the sideline alerting the coaching staff or trainers.
“It’s real time communication to the sideline,” says District 205 Director of Athletes Mat Parker. “There may be no evidence of a player staggering or concussed from a human eye, but this gives us an additional eye through the technology.”
The handheld device reads out the name of the player, the amount of the impact, the area of the head where the impact occurred and the time the blow occurred. The data is also uploaded onto software on a computer where it can be stored and studied over time.
“You always want your kids in the best stuff and the district has stepped up and is really taking care of that for us,” says Guilford football coach Mel Gifillan.
“Anything that benefits our kids is a blessing for us,” says East football coach Gary Griffin. “We went out and met with those guys last year and I thought it was a great meeting.”
District 205 is the first school district in Illinois to roll out this technology in all of its high schools.
This year is a one year trial run. 45 of the Impact helmets will be in use total at the four high schools, so only a few players will be equipped with them. If District administrators and coaches are pleased with the results then more of the helmets will likely be phased in in upcoming years.
Since this year is a pilot program the Impact devices will not cost District 205 any money. If District administrators decide to proceed with the program and add more helmets in future years it will then negotiate a deal with Riddell.
A Ridell spokesman says the Impact Helmets can add 50 to 60 dollars to the cost of a new helmet.