With the sport’s newest equipment technology, the St. Olaf College Football program is making moves to prioritize player safety by introducing helmets that will monitor the in-game head health of players.
This season the team will use helmets outfitted with Riddell’s InSite Impact Response System, a unique program that alerts medical staff and coaches when players receive potentially dangerous hits to the head during games or practices.
“A major advantage is that no hard hit will go unchecked,” says St. Olaf Head Football Coach James Killian. “The response system measures every hit over a certain threshold and alerts the trainer if the hit exceeds a certain amount of force. Once the trainer is notified, they can check on the player to make sure he is still good to continue to play.”
In addition to warning staff on the sidelines when a big hit to a player’s head might occur, Riddell’s Insite Training Technology (ITT) feature allows coaches to teach safe playing techniques to prevent injuries before they happen. With the ITT software, coaches will receive data from players’ helmets that will clue them in to player habits that could prove to be harmful to player health, giving coaches greater understanding of when athletes may be especially exposed to dangerous blows to the head.
With this technology, each player will have a unique personal profile that tracks player head impact behavior and flags specific impact trends, allowing players and coaches to compare an individual player’s impact levels with team and national averages that are specific to that player’s skill and position.
As the first team in the MIAC conference to use this new technology, St. Olaf is paving the way for smarter football in Minnesota.
“This move shows that we are and will continue to be the leader using technology and innovation to ensure our student athletes are equipped with the best equipment and technology specific to the sport,” says Kilian. “In this case, St. Olaf Football is the leader in this state and among some of the best programs in America that are utilizing this technology.”