RANCHO CORDOVA -- There may be no bigger concern these days, in all sports, than concussions-- especially at the youth level. But thanks to a grant from the city, both the varsity and junior varsity football programs at Cordova High School will be wearing helmet-based, head-impact monitoring technology.
More than 100 kids will be equipped with the helmets.
"I went to the city and asked for a little bit of money, and they stepped up," recalled Darren Nill, head football coach at Cordova.
Actually though, it was Nill who wrote the grant that eventually was approved by the city that allowed the school to buy 180 of the technology-driven helmets from Riddell.
"If we can save America's sport of football through technology like this, if our city can play a role in that, that's a great win," said Rancho Cordova Mayor David Sander. "Not only for us, for the region, for the entire country."
What makes the helmets so special are the many sensors hidden in the padding. When an impact reaches a certain threshold, the sensor will then send an electronic signal to a hand-held device on the sidelines. That means every player is being monitored at the same time, and wherever they are on the field during practice and games.
"This gives us one more set of eyes out there that has their eyes on every single player at once, and alerts us whenever they take a hit of a certain threshold," noted Cordova High's Athletic Trainer Tanner Kuyper.
Lancers running back Kenneth Haney set off an alert in one of the first practices with the new technology after taking a big hit, and right away Kuyper was there to check on him.
"He just asked me if I felt good, if my head was OK," said Haney. "No headache. Just to check up on how I was, but I was good. It's just better because everyone knows what is going on."
The technology has been around for a couple of years, but not every school can afford the cost of the system.
In fact, according to Riddell, Cordova is the first high school in the country to have the city outfit an entire team.