In fight against football head injuries, Lee’s Summit Tigers use high-tech helmets to track hits

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A local high school is utilizing helmet sensors to measure the impact their players take to the head. Lee's Summit High School tested out a handful of these sensors two years ago, and loved them so much, they decided to buy more than 70 of them for this season.

Helmet maker Riddell installs them inside the helmet, and each one is connected to a handheld monitor. Trainers carry the monitors with them to practices and games, and if a player takes a really hard hit to the head, the sensor goes off, vibrating and lighting up, letting the trainer know who was hit.

"Whenever you get hit pretty hard, the trainers might check on you a little bit extra, especially when it goes off and Coach Thomas gets aware of that. It’s a good thing to have," Quarterback Darrias Pearsall said.

After practice, the coaches can pull up stats to see all the hits the players took that day. It shows which players suffered hard hits, when during practice it happened, and where on the helmet, helping them coach better so they can make adjustments to protect their players from head injuries.

"Instead of maybe waiting until the next day and symptoms start showing, we can go ahead and say, 'Hey, this kid took a shot to the head and we had it light up in our game Friday night.' As soon as that kid came off the field, they were able to take him and start being proactive on that screening," Lee's Summit Coach Erich Thomas said.

Coach Thomas says Lee’s Summit High is the first big school on the Missouri side of the metro to go all in with this technology. He loves it and hopes to have sensors in every helmet by the start of next season.

The helmets are pricey: $250 apiece unless you buy them with a new helmet, which brings the price down to $50.

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