HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Burke County’s 4 schools using new helmet that helps detect head injuries

Published Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Burke County’s four high school football teams — Draughn, East Burke, Freedom and Patton — have new helmets this year that use technology and help coaches and support staff with information from on-field hits that relate to possible head injuries./BCPS PHOTO

Here’s what the head coaches at the four Burke County high schools are saying about the new helmets:
“Overall, the kids love them. They love how they fit and that they are light weight. We do use our monitors in practice and as a coach I love it. I can evaluate the impacts after practices and then use that to teach kids better ways to tackle, block, etc. It is a great teaching tool – Draughn’s Chris Powell
“East Burke started preparing this summer for impact monitoring. Our trainer, Sara Woods, has done a tremendous job in implementing the technology. Our trainer had our players set up in July and did a trial run. East Burke monitors our players every day we wear a helmet. I think that anything we can do to make our players safe in a contact sport will only help enhance the game. Players continue to play as they always have. We tell them the commitment that East Burke High School and Burke County Public Schools have toward their safety.
“I think the game is as safe as it has ever been — helmets, coaching methods, not using head as a lead point to contact, etc.
“We as coaches need to educate our players’ parents more about the safety measures that are in place. The preservation of our game depends on it.” – East Burke’s Mark Buffamoyer
“I think they are a great asset to have and will keep the kids safer. If we had enough training staff, they would be used a lot more effectively. It is hard for one person to deal with injuries, keep up with the heat and humidity and monitor a sensor device. To be used to the fullest, we need more training staff.” – Freedom’s Luke Little
“I think it is a good thing to have another tool to evaluate the amount of contact our players have from day to day and on any particular play. I’m anxious to see the monitoring system in action this week during our scrimmages. All the feedback I have heard from parents has been positive. I think it is reassuring to them to have a system that alerts coaches and trainers to high impact collisions.” – Patton’s Jonathan Browning


MORGANTON – Burke County’s high school football teams this year have a new tool that helps coaches with the impact of hits on players – a helmet by Riddell that alerts the coaches and trainers about possible concussions.

The teams at Draughn, East Burke, Freedom and Patton are equipped with the helmets, the school system said in a press release on Wednesday.

The InSiteTrainingTool helmets have technology, including sensors.

“These smart helmets have sensors that are wirelessly connected to sideline devices that let coaches and trainers know when a player takes a hard hit,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said in the press release. “The player can come to the sidelines and get checked out before going back into the game. But if it’s an extremely hard hit that the helmet measures, the player can get more attention on the sidelines and go through the concussion protocol procedures.”

The web-based, impact monitoring technology records nearly every head impact that occurs and builds data on players and the hits they take. The helmets are equipped with sensors on the front, top, sides and rear and record exactly where and how hard a player takes a hit to the head.

The information gathered goes to a national database to assist with studies on concussions but also gives local coaches an extra tool to help players with prevention techniques.

Coaches can use the information to influence player behavior by helping correct the way they hold their heads. The technology also provides an extra set of eyes for when a coach or trainer may miss a hit.

In the press release, Myron N. Stephens, Sports Medicine Manager for Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge said: “We are excited that Burke County Public Schools is invested in the health and safety of our student-athletes. The new InSite technology sensors located within the football helmets give our team of athletic trainers another tool to use.

“The sensors detect the collisions — not that a player has sustained a concussion — that occurs during practices and games. If the collision is of the 95 percent of that players position (i.e. QB, linebacker, etc.) it notifies our team of athletic trainers with an alert. This can be helpful, especially if we were not able to witness the collision.

“We look forward to the upcoming football season and seeing what this information may give us in regard to the health and safety of our student-athletes.

“Because of this innovative technology, our players can practice and play smarter. The overall goal is to reduce blows to the head and in turn lower the risk of concussions and brain damage. This will not eliminate concussions but will help us better manage them.

“I would like to thank our school board for their insight and willingness to allow our teams to take advantage of this latest technology.”

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