Tennessee football teams turn to new technology to help prevent concussions

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When you talk about football at any level, it’s almost impossible to avoid the topic of concussions.

It’s a real concern for parents of kids playing high school football and those going off to play at the college level.

“I think we as coaches, it’s our responsibility to make sure that we do everything to make our players as safe as possible,” said MTSU head football coach Rick Stockstill.

With concussions on the forefront of all things football, teams in Tennessee are turning to new technology to prevent them from happening.

MTSU, whose football players use what’s called a guardian helmet, which essentially adds extra padding to practice helmets.

“We’ve cut down on the number of concussions we’ve had. You know, a lot of concussions that we’ve had have come during practice, not that many in games, but the few concussions we’ve had years in the past, I feel like we have reduced those numbers by using the guardian caps,” trainer Keith Bunch said.

Photo: WKRN

At the high school level, they are going a step further with special impact sensors in helmets to allow trainers to be warned when a player has taken a hard hit.

“Yes, I do indeed feel safer because I know I have technology helping me and I definitely feel myself not having as many headaches as last time when I had my older helmet,” Siegel High School player Josh Burkhart told News 2.

While technology is helping, it still has a long way to go since not all concussions can be measured through helmets. With limited data on these technologies, it is tough for doctors to say these types of preventative techniques should be standard practice.

“If you have an accelerometer that just measures front/back, or side-to-side, or up/down, it can miss a concussion with spin and spin is a very big ideology for concussions,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Hubbard.

He continued, “What we don’t have is peer reviewed scientific data saying, yes, if you do this, it’ll decrease concussions. That’s what I as a doctor have to stop short of saying that is the standard now. You need to do this, but it’s a great strategy. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it and hopefully that will prove to be true. That it will decrease the concussion rate,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Jason Hubbard.

For parents, it’s important to talk to your kids about concussions and how to stay safe.

Photo: WKRN

There are also signs and symptoms parents can look for after their child gets a bump to the head such as appearing dazed, stunned or confused.

Another sign of a concussion is brief loss of consciousness. Other symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea, blurry or double vision.

If you think your child has a concussion, you should take them to a doctor for treatment.

Click here to read more from News 2’s Family Safety Day.