Local team battling concussions with new helmets - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local team battling concussions with new helmets

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Taking a big hit for the team, under the lights on a Friday night is a badge of honor for a football player, but it could also mean serious health issues.

More and more research is showing a link between concussions and mental illnesses.

One local high school team is taking the next step to prevent serious head injuries.

Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque is implementing the Riddell InSite Impact Response System this season.

"Unfortunately our game has been under attack for many years. Coaches not just here, the state of Iowa, and nationally at all levels are doing their absolute best to teach their kids the best techniques to try to stay safe; keep their heads out of tackles," said Wahlert Head Football Coach Travis Zajac.

Athletic trainers are paying extra attention to potential head injuries, but often players try to hide hard hits.

"Concussions are so big in the media now, the kids don't want to tell you. They want to keep playing. It is frustrating at times," said Wahlert Catholic Athletic Trainer, Molly Pilcher.

But now when Wahlert Catholic High players take the field there is no hiding.

The special InSite helmets measure the impact of the hits players are taking with five sensors around the head. 

The data is then sent in real time back to the trainers on the sidelines.

"It will give you the kid's name, if it is a single or multiple impact, the date and the time it happened," explained Pilcher.

The technology takes the guessing out of which players need to be checked for possible concussions by sending a warning alert to the trainer when a high impact occurs.

"It can happen in any sport, but with us, it is more magnified and having another tool is going to off-set some of those issues. It is nothing, but a benefit," said Zajac.

The school was able to purchase 15 helmets for the 2017 season. With 70 players, the coaching staff chose players with a history of concussions to wear the helmets.

The Riddell InSite Impact Response costs about $600 a piece.

The school hopes to keep adding more helmets to the team in future years.

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