Sterlington High School using new technology to keep football players safe

STERLINGTON, La. (KNOE) - As the Panthers prepare for the state semi-finals, the team is leaning on new technology to make sure the players’ road to the dome is a safe journey. The Sterlington High School football team is going high tech to prevent head injuries.

Senior linebacker Willie Holloway knows what a concussion is like and doesn’t want to experience another head injury. "When you're out there on the field you know you got that adrenaline pumping and you want to get back out there on the field, but in reality, you can get hurt real bad if you don't come out,” says Willie Holloway.

New Ridell Insite sensors allow the football staff to monitor when and where players experience contact on the field by sending data from the helmet to a device worn by the team's athletic trainer. "It's like a mini cell phone or pager type of thing, and it sends data to that, I only get alerts for blows that are high impact blows or if someone takes multiple blows close together, or back to back,” says Paul Vaughn, Certified Athletic Trainer.

The helmets are the same, but they add in multiple sensors on all sides of the helmet. Vaughn says if the pager shows one player is getting a lot of blows, they’ll bring them aside. “And I'll just go check on that athlete, and it doesn't necessarily mean that anything in particular happened, it's just another tool to use to see how much contact is being given,” says Vaughn.

The ultimate goal is to teach players what to do to avoid head injuries and monitor their safety. "It actually tells you front, back, left and right sides, it has sensors on those sides, so if you're taking a lot of blows in the forehead, we're talking to that athlete about leading with their head,” says Vaughn, “if they're taking a lot of blows in other areas we're trying to figure out why."

It's about making sure players are healthy enough to continue playing football. "It's very important, especially if you want to go to the next league,” says Willie Holloway. “There's a lot of people out here that want to go out and play in college and play football, and you can't do that if you're hurt. You’ve got to recover and treat your body right."