Let’s Not Be So Quick to Judge on Concussion Protocols

Let’s Not Be So Quick to Judge on Concussion Protocols

Gamel_potrait_JPEG_150by Steve Gamel

I wrote an investigative article recently for the Denton Record-Chronicle on a high school right here in Argyle that is using head impact sensor technology in football helmets to help curb the threat of concussions. This school deserves a ton of credit for doing that.

But let’s stop short of chiding those who have yet to embrace the same technology.

For those who don’t know, Liberty Christian School had sensors installed inside every varsity and junior varsity football helmet this season in what team officials hope is the next step toward being at the forefront of concussion awareness, player safety and protecting the future of football.

These sensors, which fit underneath the existing helmet padding and measure the force of a hit, are meant to monitor in real time hits players take in games and practices. They keep track of everything from how hard a player got hit to the exact location on the players’ head the hit occurred. Trainers then receive instant feedback on the sideline using tracking software.

Simply put: If a player has too many questionable hits, he can be removed faster from a game.

The sensors will not detect concussions. But it’s another tool to help limit them.

If you didn’t read the full article online on Oct. 6, I suggest you do (and not just because I wrote it). The key point I want to make here is that out of the 13 high schools and one college football program (UNT) the DRC covers, Liberty Christian is the only school currently using sensors.

The logical follow up questions would be, “Well why aren’t the rest of them using it?” or “Does Liberty Christian care more about its player safety than other schools do?”
I don’t think it has anything to do with other programs not wanting to protect players. I have done enough concussion stories over the last few years to know that Liberty Christian is just like everyone else in the sense that they are all using a slew of tools to help promote player safety. That includes everything from proper tackling, the importance of hydration, having skilled trainers and doctors on hand, and educating players and coaches on what concussion symptoms look like. The latest sensor technology is simply another tool.

And then there is the cost. Depending on whose product you use, the cost for a sensor ranges between $100-$150 per player. That’s far less expensive than you would initially think, but not every school district or university (large or small) is in the same position financially. The total cost balloons when you look at larger school districts like Denton, Lewisville or even Frisco. What you do for one district school in the concussion battle, you must do for the other. And what about the middle schools? Do you include them, too? I say you have to.

There are thousands of high school and college football programs across the country. According to the sources from my article, there are a little more than 600 programs using some form of helmet sensor technology.

Do I think they all should be using sensors? Absolutely! Are the ones that aren’t in the wrong? No.

No one at Liberty Christian told me that the sensors they are using in helmets are the be all, end all tool to promote player safety. In fact, team officials stressed the importance of maintaining their existing concussion protocols and quality equipment as their first line of defense. They are giving sensors a try, though, and if they have the means to do it, then by all means push forward.

There are a growing number of helmet manufacturers who believe sensors will be required in every helmet in the near future. To suggest those not begging for the technology now are willing to put their players’ lives at risk in the meantime … well, that’s just ludicrous.

Until next time, I’ll see you on the sidelines.


Related Articles

Consider Exotic Elements When Planning for Your Comfort Space

Yes, school is starting up with the streets lined with moms and dads walking their children to and from school

Focus on Women’s Heart Health

Cardiovascular Consultants February is American Heart Month.  Since 2003, the American Heart Association has been working to increase women’s awareness

Argyle and Liberty Christian Repeat as Basketball State Champions

by Steve Gamel The Argyle girls basketball team and its private-school counterpart from down the street, Liberty Christian, have been

No comments

Write a comment
No Comments Yet! You can be first to comment this post!

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*