Game On: Speedflex Helmet Sensors Help Detect Concussions

It’s the fall and football across America and Canada is in full swing.

From high school, to college, to the pros, there is no shortage of action packed games.

Football has become a unique tradition, part of our culture in every sense as it is exciting, strategic, and downright physical. And yes, every hometown team has a rival and ‘scores of sorts’ are always settled on the field on game day.

While football has grown over the years, so have the types of injuries that go along with the game, one being concussions players experience when getting hit or tackled.

The Speedflex helmet tackles concussions head-on.The Speedflex helmet tackles concussions head-on.

Many of us cringe when we hear that sound of another player taking down his opponent. The sound of their gear being crushed is shocking, and the replay of a massive hit always reminds us of just how physical the game really is.

Concussions - serious ones -  are a striking reality in football and for years they have been hard to detect in a player during a game. Normally, a football player who experiences a hard hit is quickly examined by a trainer on the sidelines and within minutes they return to the game, ready for more action.

And we all know that head injuries from huge hits are a big issue these days, especially in the NFL and NCAA. Scores of former players who now have Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia are suing the leagues, claiming they knew all about the health risks connected with head trauma, but did little, if nothing, to act on it.

However, today the game of accurately detecting concussions has arrived, thanks to new technology by Riddell, the makers of the ‘smart’ football helmet called Speedflex.

The Speedflex helmet tackles concussions head-on. The helmet is loaded with sensors that collect data on each hit. If the helmet reads a strong hit, one serious enough to cause a concussion, a warning signal goes off on a handheld device to a trainer.

The Speedflex helmet is loaded with sensors that collect data on each hit.The Speedflex helmet is loaded with sensors that collect data on each hit.

Even better, the helmet is designed with a variety of materials to lessen the blow from a hard hit. The curvy design, and innovative padding, along with a more structural sound facemask, will help reduce concussions for football players.

"We want to protect players as best we can," says Thad Ide, head of product development and management at Riddell. “It's a way of keeping your players healthy. You can keep your star player healthy, and keep your star player playing more… that's the way I'd look at it if I was a coach.”

He adds, “Ten or 15 years ago concussions weren't thought of the same way as they are now. They're being taken much more seriously… and not just shrugged off as 'being shook up' on the field.”

Several NFL and NCAA teams are now using the Speedflex helmet. The price for the helmet ranges from $320.00 to $400.00 (USD), depending on the style.

High schools across the USA and Canada are now ordering the helmets so players can wear them in practice and during games.