Friday, May 26, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbit football spends on helmets, players’ safety

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke High School football program recently became the first football program in Arkansas to take a hi-tech approach to monitoring their entire body of student athletes. The Jackrabbits adopted Riddell’s InSite Impact Response System – a head impact monitoring technology from the leading football helmet manufacturer – for the upcoming season.

Riddell InSite is a football helmet-based sensor technology that alerts sideline staff when a player experiences significant impacts during games and practices.

The latest software delivers more information about player head impacts, including the location of the impact. It also offers new training opportunities based on data trends by player, and highlights Lonoke High’s commitment to protecting its players not only through technique, but through technology.

“We believe we can keep our players safer with this new technology. Anytime we can become more aware of head injuries in our sport we should take that opportunity,” said Taggart Moore, Lonoke Senior High varsity football head coach. “Through teaching proper technique and our SpeedFlex helmets with InSite technology, we believe we can minimize head injuries for many seasons to come.”

InSite was developed based on Riddell’s Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS) and Sideline Response System (SRS), a technology that has analyzed more than 5 million impacts since 2003. This integrated technology fits into the liner of a Riddell helmet and is used to monitor players and alert the sideline to significant head impacts sustained during a football game or practice.

For instance, if a player collision sends an impact report score of 99, an indicator is automatically sent to a monitor (usually a team trainer) on the sideline. The same is true for a fifth impact score of 95. Furthermore, the metric can be adjusted by sideline monitors. Meaning the impact score that generates an automatic indicator can be lowered.

“Anything you can do to make a sport safer is a good idea,” said Lonoke athletic director Marc Sherrell. As Athletic Director, I see this type of helmet technology being the wave of the future in high school and college football. In Lonoke, we decided to be leaders in bringing about this technology rather than jumping on the train at a later date. We’re excited to give our student athletes the opportunity to use it.”

The Lonoke School District spent approximately $52,000 on 180 helmets for every player in grades 7-12. That’s roughly $290 per helmet, which is a bargain. Retail price for the SpeedFlex helmet is $399 for a single unit, while the impact monitoring system is another $150 per unit.