GSU Eagles helmets to measure hits, head injuries - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Eagles helmets to measure hits, head injuries

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The Georgia Southern Eagles' helmets don't look any different this year. But they could offer better protection for this team and others in the future against concussions.

Many of the helmets (40 initially, with more to come) are equipped with the Helmet Impact Telemetry System or HITS with sensors inside among the pads. They measure helmet contact from several directions and positions to determine the amount and type of force the player's head receives. That information is transmitted to the sideline to a computer monitored by athletic trainers.

"I've been here ten years and this is the first thing to tell us how hard a hit these guys are taking," explained trainer Brandy Clouse. "This allows us to get that information right as it happens."

The system notifies trainers by pager of significan hits. They can immediately check that player, possibly preventing them from further hits after an injury.

"It doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem or a concussion," explained Georgia Southern assistant biomechanics professor Dr. Barry Munkasy. "But they know there's possibly a problem - and not an hour from now - but right now on the field."

The data will additionally be sent to helmet and equipment companies to help improve player safety.

"Hopefully, that's beneficial in figuring out what we can do to build a safer helmet and protect these guys better," added head coach Jeff Monken.

The data will include time stamps for each hit. Coaches can synchronize the data with practice or game video to analyze the player's movement on the play and possibly improve techniques.

Georgia Southern is the only team in the state to utilize the HITS technology.

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