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Football helmet monitor analyzes head impact data for smarter, safer play

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Protective sports equipment developer Riddell recently introduced its Insite Training Tool (ITT), a football helmet impact data analysis system built to protect players with individualized training aimed at lessening the risk of concussions. ITT rounds out Riddell’s existing InSite impact-monitoring system. Previously, the Insite system had three elements: smart helmets worn by players, handheld Head Impact Exposure (HIE) monitors used by coaching staff, and a web-based data collection platform that produces player profiles.

Here’s how the Insite system works:

The smart helmets can detect and quantify impact intensity in five different zones or areas of the helmet. If a player has a single head impact or a number of impacts that exceed preset thresholds, the helmet sends an alert to the staff’s handheld monitors. The monitors collectively send the data to the web platform every five minutes during practices or games.

The Insite software creates and updates individual impact profiles for each player based on the transmitted data. The Insite Training Tool takes the next big step in the process beyond compiling data to create player profiles. Using data from more than 5 million impacts analyzed by the Insite software in the past 10 years, the ITT component creates reports featuring practice plans and training techniques.

The overall purpose of the data-derived reports is to lessen the danger of head impacts and decrease concussions by changing the individual player’s game behavior. The Insite system is only sold to youth, high school, and college football teams. Team staff members can use the ITT-derived plans to create individualized instruction and training.

“This is an exciting innovation that creates a first-time opportunity for programs at all levels to take a data-driven approach toward reducing exposure to head impacts,” said Thad Ide, Riddell’s senior vice president of research and product development. “The ability to track head-impact exposure for a team provides a coaching tool to help better evaluate how effective they are in limiting unnecessary player contact during practices and games.”

Colgate University’s football coaches implemented Riddell’s ITT in 2018 spring practices. “The InSite Training Tool revolutionizes how we view practice and paves the way for coaches and players to create a smarter, more intelligent game,” said Colgate head football coach Dan Hunt.

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“The capability to influence how our athletes train and the ability to systematically assess our performance is a clear advantage over other programs,” Hunt continued. “It adds more depth and substance to our player protection and evaluation processes.”

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