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Local prep football team using helmet sensored impact detection system

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- The popularity of high school football is in sharp contrast these days with concerns over concussions.

A number of teams in the metro are working with a new system to immediately inform coaches when players are being hit too hard in the head.

The system is called the InSite Player Management System, and it's made by the same company that makes the majority of football helmets. When a football player takes a big hit, a wireless device goes to work, informing coaches if a player is in need of attention.

For every action that happens on a high school football field, there is also a reaction. Players and coaches at Shawnee Mission East High School are using a new system, meant to measure how hard a hit felt to the player.

Lancers Coach Dustin Delaney believes this new InSite Player Management System is helping lessen the blows. Helmet-maker Riddell outfitted this new line of helmets with five impact sensors. When a player takes a hard shot -- the sensors send a signal to a wireless readout carried by a team trainer.

"We can analyze the amount of contact we're doing, " Delaney said. "If I have a kid who is repeatedly setting his alert off, I'm either going to teach that kid how to tackle better or we'll hold him out of some contact."

Studies have shown that prolonged or severe impact can add up to head and brain injuries. Delaney says InSite has only issued four alerts this season, all of which came during games rather than in practices.

Riddell developed the InSite system at its Chicago-based headquarters. Thad Ide is the company's vice-president of research and development. He told our partner station in that city the product is meant to lessen impact -- but it can't prevent injury.

"This doesn't diagnose concussions," Ide said. "It just tells you that something out of the ordinary for that player's skill level and playing position happened on the field and you should follow protocols."

Shawnee Mission East Linebacker Sam Pottenger says it gives him a sense of security, knowing coaches are keeping an eye on his safety.

"I've heard of kids saying they'd gotten their bell rung," Pottenger said. "The trainers take them to the sidelines and ask them some questions and make sure they're ok."

"What's the price of keeping a kid safe? It's priceless," Delaney said.

Erin Griffin, a spokesperson from Riddell, says 10 schools in the metro are using the InSite System, including all five Shawnee Mission high schools.

As for whether or not the system works, Riddell says that info varies from team to team since InSite is meant to be a research-based product.

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