New Centerville football helmets to help detect concussive hits

Centerville high school will roll out new helmets in July that can help detect concussions early on. JIM NOELKER/DAYTON DAILY NEWS
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Centerville high school will roll out new helmets in July that can help detect concussions early on. JIM NOELKER/DAYTON DAILY NEWS

Centerville High School’s football team is on the verge of purchasing new helmet technology that would make it easier to detect potential concussions earlier.

The helmets, produced by Riddell, are equipped with impact monitoring technology called Insite, designed to alert when significant single or multiple impacts are sustained during a game or practice, according to Riddell Product Manager Mike Richards.

“The idea is to take what they’re already doing — coaches monitoring athletes, getting them ready for game — and putting a little more information behind their finger tips,” Richards said.

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Each helmet is equipped with five sensors that sends an alert directly to the coaching staff or athletic trainer when a player’s helmet comes into contact with something — whether it’s another player or the ground — that exceeds a predetermined threshold.

The sensors record the force of the “atypical impact profiles” and sends the information to the coaching staff via a handheld LCD alert monitor.

By having this technology available, Centerville coaches will be able to tell whether a player has sustained a forceful impact to the head and place them in concussion protocol, if necessary.

“It’s not a diagnostic tool, it doesn’t tell you the player’s injured,” Richards said. “It’s based on on-field data that we’ve collected over a decade.”

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According to the Center for Disease Control, concussion symptoms from players often include headache, nausea, confusion and/or concentration or memory issues. Ohio High School Athletics Association requires players be removed from play if an athlete is suspected of having a concussion.

It’s estimated that more than 140,000 high school athletes suffer from a concussion each year, according to data from NFHS Injury Surveillance System.

Lisa Elam, of Bill’s Donuts in Centerville, said she and her brother/co-owner Jim Elam are committed to helping purchase the helmets for the school, but are looking for donors to help cover the approximate $12,000 cost.

Elam said if they don’t receive the help they’re looking for, they’ll “foot the bill.” They’re just hopeful other donors will help raise at least half the cost.

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“I was hoping to make it a community sponsored event instead of just the donut shop,” she said.

Centerville will begin their summer training program in July, using the helmets then. Once the equipment is up and running, the Elks reportedly will be the first team in Ohio to have all varsity members using the tech in their helmets.

So far, it will just be varsity members with the technology, but Elam is hopeful once the school sees how the helmets work, they can start to look at options for the other levels.

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