(WBIR-Greenback) An East Tennessee football team is using technology to help protect its players.
Monday night, the Greenback Cherokees tested new high-tech helmets during a scrimmage game against Polk County High School.
Inside six Greenback players' helmets, there are Riddell helmet sensors called "InSite." When a player gets hit, the sensors track any significant blows to the head. The sensors are linked to a handheld monitor that then records which player was involved, where the player was hit on the head, and the speed of collision.
"When there's a significant impact to the helmet, it will vibrate and there will be an audible sound," said Jason Hicks, head football coach at Greenback. "The trainer at that point will be able to get the kid out and evaluate him."
Last spring, four Greenback players suffered concussions in just eight days.
According to Hicks, the team first used the new helmets during their first scrimmage game of the season.
"One of the kids who was wearing it got hit in the head. The sensor went off on the sidelines that our trainer was holding. Our trainer was then able to pull the kid from the scrimmage quickly, evaluate him, and get him back out," Coach Hicks said.
An athletic trainer with Blount Memorial Hospital keeps track of the collisions from the sidelines.
It cost about $1,000 for six of the high-tech helmets. Blount Memorial Hospital and Broadway Flower Shop in Lenior City helped fund them.
Coach Hicks said there is a possibility they could get six more helmets next football season. For now, the same six players, who are most susceptible to head injuries, will wear them throughout the season.
Quarterback Samuel McCloud is one of the six wearing the InSite technology. He suffered from a concussion his freshman year. McCloud is now a senior at Greenback High School.
"I'm excited about it because it'll tell all the coaches whenever I have an impact to the head that could potentially hurt me and I don't know about. So I feel a little bit more protected," he said.
His father, Wayne McCloud, also feels good about the new technology.
"I really think it's a good thing for high school sports to really give the data to back up what doctors are telling head coaches," he said.
During Greenback's scrimmage game against Polk County High School, Coach Hicks said the monitor went off one time. According to Hicks, the player was fine but the team now has that data for future games.
The Greenback Cherokees will play this Friday night at the Jamboree at William Blount High School.