STEM, Health Tech, AP Stats test football players’ helmets for risks of concussions

By Evan Norris, Staff Writer — With concussions having a lasting impact on the game of football today, schools across the country have decided to try and find out what position on the field is most likely to experience a concussion. GlenOak is one of 10 schools across the country to be able to participate in this experiment.

STEM, health tech and AP statistics, have teamed up in this experiment to find out the positions that have a greater chance of getting a concussion.

With the help of Shockbox groups in the STEM community, they were able to implement helmet sensors to track the accelerated force at which athletes are hit. In order for STEM to begin experimenting, they wrote a grant to Shockbox for $2,000 for them to begin their concussion study.

STEM had begun their concussion study on the week of the Lake Blue Streaks game. A total of 22 players on the team had the sensor inserted in their helmets, 11 players on offense and 11 players on defense.

“GlenOak High School has more than four medical career pathways for our students. These programs are constantly looking for resources to collect important data to keep our students safe. These sensors will better equip our student athletes on the field and help our students make advances in the classroom,” STEM teacher Chad Palmer said.

After the game, they tracked all the data they had collected and began to organize it. Currently, they are still analyzing data. It is characterized by age of the athlete, the direction in which they were hit from, magnitude of the hit and position the athlete plays.

Along with STEM, health tech is also involved in the experiment on concussions. They are looking into the force at which the player got hit with, which is tracked by Shockbox (helmet sensor). When a helmet collides with another object it creates something known as the G force. Anything with the force of 20G is not necessarily dangerous.

“Any time a player sustains 90 Gs or above we get an alert. Research has suggested that puts a person at risk for a head injury,” health tech teacher Alex Shaheen said.

Health tech is also using the process of Head Injury Criterion. Head Injury Criterion, also known as HIC, is the measure of the likelihood of a head injury arising from an impact of a force. This process is used to measure car crashes and sports equipment.

Along with health tech and STEM, AP statistics is also involved in this experiment. They plan to relate the information to the class.

Although STEM is only looking into the football program and concussions, they would like to possibly extend it to different schools.

“We are trying to track Mount Union and Akron University,” Palmer said.

Though STEM is not building a new helmet to help prevent concussions, the data formulated from this experiment not only from our school, but schools around the country can possibly pose a benefit to football helmet brands. Brands such as Riddell and Schutt could take this data and make football a safer game.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]