(3-28-17) Last summer with a lot of fan fare in Rockford, Illinois the RPS 205 school district announced it would be a pilot program with Riddell’s Football Helmet Insite Technology program. The program is set-up to help coaches and trainers in detecting when players might have a possible concussion conditions after a hard hit or impact.

Mat Parker, Director of Athletic Activities & Program Development in a RPS 205 release said:

“Any time it makes sense to be cutting edge and provide the best opportunities for our students and coaches, we’re going to do that. With this technology, we can identify how to teach and coach our players better, and we can assess potential injuries earlier. It enhances our program.”

As a one-year pilot program RPS 205 was given Insite Technology Impact devices and 45 helmets at no cost. The district was the first in Illinois to participate in the program

According to Riddell officials over 20,000 athletes have been using the technology across the US.

So why is RPS 205 ‘dumping’ the Insite Technology program? In a WREX TV story,  Parker said the helmets detected three concussions, but it didn’t provide any new information.

“It wasn’t revealing something that we didn’t see with our eyes, so those players were taken out regardless of the sensor going off.

Is  cost the determining factor for discontinuing the program? According to Riddell officials Insite Technology helmets cost $50 to $60 more than a standard helmet.  RPS 205 told WREX-TV it would cost the district an additional $20,000 more to equip all of the four RPS 205 schools.

No details from the district have been released (nothing on school district web site) that would indicate that any of the football coaches, trainers or AD’s were involved in the decision to drop the program or if the administration made the final call.  It was not disclosed in the story if the  district would keep the 45 helmets and tracking devices and if they will continue to use them in the upcoming football season.

When Riddell was contacted on RPS 205’s decision on not ‘expanding’ the program:

Erin Griffin – Riddell Vice President of Marketing & Communications

RPS 205 is not dropping the Riddell InSite program. They will keep their current units and use them this season. In addition, it will be at the individual coaches discretion to order additional InSite helmets this year.

Sidney (Ohio) High School started to use the program  in 2015, but their partner in the project, Wilson Health Sports Medicine Services, said they also are no longer using the Riddell program.

Two other programs who used the system in 2016-

Kansas City Bishop Miege Head Coach John Holmes told PrepsKC:

“We have changed some of the drills we have done. It is also very helpful during games. It is hard to see every time a player gets banged up. The monitor system allows our trainer to check on the player immediately to assure no injury was sustained.”

The Exeter (Pennsylvania) school district last spring purchased  145 Riddell SpeedFlex helmets, equipped with the InSite monitoring system, the cost to the district was more than $55,000.

Exeter High School Athletic Trainer Audrey Dickman told the Reading Eagle:

“If we can catch one or two kids who would (not normally) report symptoms, by having this (system), that’s a win. That’s a win for everybody.”