Can a new type of high tech football helmet keep players safer from head injuries? NY1's Adam Balkin explores Riddell’s new helmet in his latest report.
How can a helmet without any new padding inside, no new materials outside and no design changes still make playing football safer? The answer to that riddle comes from Riddell, the biggest manufacturer of football helmets.
The company’s new product is called InSite Impact Response System. It’s a thin, removable liner filled with sensors that go on the inside of the helmet. The sensors can report hard, potentially concussion-causing hits to a handheld digital device on the sideline.
“It measures different types of forces: linear forces, rotational forces, impact durations and locations,” says Thad Ide of Riddell. “It computes what's called Hit SP, an injury index, and decides whether that's an alertable impact and reports that to the sideline to the athletic trainers and the sideline staff.”
The system will send an alert either after one really massive hit or if a single player has suffered too many bad shots and should probably be evaluated by the trainer. Riddell is quick to point out that this is not a diagnostic tool, rather it is like an extra set of eyes.
In addition to helping to pinpoint potential concussions, the system is also designed to help teach players how to better avoid getting one in the first place.
Scott Blatt, athletic trainer at Westlake High School in California, which is helping to test out the system, says if one player is registering too many alerts, it’s time to check his form.
“The one that had multiple hits or a hit in three different games I sat down and watched film with him and the coaches to figure out where in time that hit was occurring and where it was registering on that monitor,” says Blatt. “Then we started looking at his technique to try to figure out if we could make some changes and make him aware of it.”
The InSite system is available now. It isn't cheap though, it runs around $150 per helmet.