Athletic Trainer Confused by Lack of Interest in Helmet Sensors

When a California high school purchased 25 helmet sensors over the summer and offered them to its 120 players for $150 on a first-come, first-served basis, the school’s athletic trainer and others expected that demand would overtake supply and the sensors would sell out.

Instead, only 20 parents acquired the sensors, which are manufactured by Riddell and provide alerts that are after a high-impact hit.

“My feeling is, this is your child, and if my child sustained a hit large enough to possibly sustain a concussion, I would want someone to at least look at them,” Scott Blatt, Westlake High School’s head athletic trainer told the Los Angeles Times. “In the society we live in, the knowledge is there but parents, I don’t know — it confused me.” Blatt told the paper that he thought some of the boys worried about being pulled from games and missing playing time. 

Nevertheless, the system was put in place over the fall.

Blatt said Alerts were issued at least once every game and about 30 times over the course of the season.

“The alert lists the jersey number and name of the player,” according to the Times. “The trainer looks for wobbling motions that suggest the player is a bit woozy. If nothing is visually apparent, the trainer waits for a play stoppage to pull the player aside and assess his memory, balance and cranial nerve response.

“The player gets asked whether he can recall the big hit. His eyes must follow the trainer’s finger. He is told to puff his cheeks and stick out his tongue. His arms and shoulders are tugged on. His neck is prodded. In most cases, a player closes the sequence with ‘I’m good.’ Westlake pulled a player after an alert three times during the season, including twice when a trainer missed the hit.” 

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