Concussion Sensing Helmet Could Save Athlete Lives

10.28.13 Helmets for Concussions

Story provided by PSFK

The growth of concussion and head trauma awareness in football over the past decade has led to a slew of procedural changes in an attempt to curb occurrence. Defenseless receiver rules, helmet-to-helmet violations, and moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line are all attempts to make football safer by reducing high-impact hits on players’ heads. Even so, head trauma can still occur without players and trainers even knowing, which only compounds its severity. Hopefully, InSite can change that.

At a conference earlier in the week attended by PSFK, Riddell sports equipment unveiled the InSite Impact Response System. A new integrated monitoring tool with alert capabilities, the InSite is designed for proactive concussion protection in football players.


Riddell InSite uses a Head Impact Telemetry (HIT) System to help determine potential trauma to a player’s head through impact exposure. Data collected and analyzed by the system includes how often impact occurs, how much force the head receives, the direction of the impact, and the acceleration of the head, among other things. This smart helmet platform then sends the information from the field of play to a Sideline Response System (SRS) that alerts proper medical staff. Trainers and sideline medical personnel are then able to assess players that register alerts outside the permitted thresholds for possible concussion symptoms.

While the InSite system is not a diagnostic tool, that is to say it doesn’t identify players as definitely having sustained head trauma, it does provide “another set of eyes” to identify players that may have sustained a head injury and could benefit from a proactive assessment. Through research and analysis of over 2 million registered impacts in trial programs at Virginia Tech and the University of Georgia, among other schools, the InSite system has been programmed with threshold levels – adjustable based on skill level and the position being played – that indicate impact levels at which someone may reasonably receive trauma.


The InSite system includes an instrumented overliner (sensors) that measures both single impact alerts and multiple, or accumulated, impact alerts, an alert monitor device to relay information to trainers, and player management software. The technology – still in a pilot phase – is expected to cost around $150 per overliner insert and $200 per monitor (one monitor can track 150 players). While the express use of the InSite system is to make football safer for kids and young adults, this could be a rather steep investment for schools and organizations already working with a shoestring budget.

However, if the system is truly effective, it’s difficult to put a price on safety. Moving forward, the InSite system appears to provide an opportunity for meaningful impact on concussion prevention, reinforcement of proper safety technique among new players, decisions and rule changes in the game, and in application with other contact sports and activities. Interestingly enough, the unveiling of InSite comes just as the NFL ends their official helmet deal with Riddell.


Former NFL player Merril Hoge, whose own career was ended by concussions, hosted the event held in New York City, along with executives from Riddell and researchers from academic institutions across the country.  For a better look at how the InSite works, and some of the science and technology behind it, check out the video below:

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