Camas HS Participating in Potentially Groundbreaking Football Concussion Study


Through the entirety of long, hot preseason practices leading up to their 2013 WIAA 4A championship game rematch with Chiawana, of Pasco, Washington – the champions after coming back from an almost insurmountable two-score deficit with under two minutes to play – the alarms never went off in the heads of 18 of Camas’ players – not one time during the many scrimmages, Oklahoma drills and other full-contact football drills. In coachspeak, that is usually bad news – players not picking up key concepts or fully understanding what it takes to win.

[quote align=’right’]We could be seeing history in the making, as we watch one of our nation’s most powerful institutions – the NFL – be figuratively brought to its knees by the media.[/quote]Finally, in the rematch between the teams 10 days ago, the alarms went off for three Camas players in the first quarter alone, and then seven times total by four different players throughout the game. Good news?

A Camas athletic trainer holding a handheld monitor pulled the four players aside during different parts of the game. One player was befuddled as to why he was being checked. “What are you doing? I feel fine,” the player said. This player had just received a hit to the head that registered in the top 1% in impact of hits based on a study of more than two million impacts over a 10-year period.

The product is Riddell’s Insite Impact Response System, which has sensors that line a player’s helmet and sends a report directly to a trainer if the hit is either in the top 1% of all hits or two impacts over a rolling seven-day period that register in the top 5%. An algorithm formula was deduced from the sampling and also includes level of play (high school, college, etc.) and the position the player players (a linemen is not going to get hit at full speed like a receiver or running back might when the defender has a head start).

Riddell’s Insite Impact Response System.
Riddell’s Insite Impact Response System.

The typical Riddell football helmet costs approximately $230; this additional technology adds an additional $130 to that fee. When you consider what’s at stake in a young man’s future, the necessity of the additional funds is not up for debate in this article.

Camas is the only program in the entire Northwest testing the technology. Overall, 3,600 players nationwide wear the helmet, including 125 teams, 23 youth programs, and 24 colleges. The 18 players at Camas wearing the helmet were randomly selected, with the only caveat being that they play a position where contact is a constant.

The alarms that night ultimately provided to be false in those handful of cases, but these “second set of eyes” as Camas called them, could be a strong indicator of things to come and a step in the right direction; it will also detect the big hits we often miss with the naked eye. The benefits cannot be denied.

We could be seeing history in the making, as we watch one of our nation’s most powerful institutions – the NFL – be figuratively brought to its knees by the media, Congress and public opinion over its alleged mishandling of the Ray Rice spousal abuse case, brain deterioration in current players and retirees based on court documents and even the NFL’s own studies, and more. In these trying times for the NFL, a little positive publicity could be found 2,889 miles west at Camas High School. Small things can turn into big things in a hurry. Are they checking that alarm that has gone off?