Smart Helmets Improve Safety in High School Football

LANCASTER, Wis. (WMTV) -- Football is the game that America continues to love, but due to head injuries, parents have also grown to fear.

With the advancement of technology in player safety, that concern led Lancaster High School's football program to its solution.

"There was a lot of uncertainty with parents allowing their young men to play football. Concussions were becoming more mainstream news stories. And we were trying to figure out how to be proactive and allow our students to be as safe as possible." said Flying Arrows assistant coach Andy Haas.

That initiative drove Lancaster to Riddell's Insite Training Tool, or simply "ITT" which tracks every head impact on the team such as over 5,000 hits from the 2018-2019 academic year alone.

As the helmets are priced at $400 each, Lancaster used fundraising, and Booster support to cover the costs. The investment in player safety benefited the players confidence as well.

"I know I can play 110% and I don't have to let up" began Lancaster senior Isaiah Place, "I know if something happens. One, I'll feel it but second I have a helmet with records that keep every single hit that I have."

Perhaps the most underrated advantage that ITT brings to Lancaster's sideline is communication, because in the padding of every single Riddell helmet a networking system is set up. If a player sustains a big hit, and an alert is sent right to the coach's pocket.

"That's the beauty of the Riddell insight analytics that we get. It's instant feedback every time there's a hit out on the field, whether is the top of the head, the crown, sides." Shared Haas, "So we get notifications on the buzzer and then at the end of the season, we can break down the information. When are we hitting hardest, when are our rivalry games."

In a game where the athletes are more than just players . Coaches and parents can share that peace of mind the technology provides.

"Football is such a unique sport. And I always picture those young men out there as my own children. And what would I want? You know, suited on them. What kind of equipment would I want?" Haas added.

Lancaster has WIAA Level 2 play on November 1st at Mineral Point.