With the start of the new school year comes the start of high school sports.
This year in South Carolina, one school is adding sensors inside football helmets that registers ‘hard hits’ to the helmet, which could help detect concussions.
There’s no question football can be a violent sport.
“It may be violent but at least it’s fun,” Dalton Zurick said.
Zurick plays defensive line for the York High Cougars. Last season, he suffered a concussion during a game.
“My helmet ended up getting knocked off and I still chased the person which I guess you shouldn’t do,” Zurick said.
“They still play the card of being 10 ft. tall and bullet proof and they don’t want to let you know that something happened,” Athletic Trainer Mike Smith said.
Smith said in more than 30 years of experience, he’s seen countless concussions.
“In the past four years, I’ve probably seen about 150,” Smith said.
Which is why his school is adding technology inside certain helmets to assist in the process of identifying concussions.
“The old phrase of ‘getting your bell rung’ is not acceptable anymore,” Smith explained.
There’s an extra set of padding inside the helmets with sensors. It’s designed to that when there’s a heavy impact on the football field, it’s supposed to send a signal over to the sidelines where the head athletic trainer is standing by. The technology was made by Riddell.
In 2015, York was the first high school in South Carolina to purchase the helmet sensors. They issue the helmets to players with high-impact positions.
This season, they’re adding even more, around 15 helmets.
“I like hitting people. It’s fun.”
For players like Zurick, who like many athletes, sometimes fight through the pain, it’s a way to monitor heavy hits to see if they need to be pulled out of the game.
“Like if you make the play, there’s nothing better than that.”