Rochester youth football team uses new concussion-sensing helmets

ROCHESTER, Mich. – When the Rochester Ravens purchased new football helmets recently, they did their research to find the safest one on the market.

Now, they're adding a device they hope will only add to player safety. It's called a Brain Sentry helmet-mounted impact sensor.

"It attaches to the back of the helmet and tracks every hit by day, by week, by year," said Tony Betts, president of the Rochester Ravens Youth Football and Cheer.

According to the Maryland-based company, the sensors are designed to not only count hits, but measure if and when and athlete suffers an unusually rapid -- and potentially dangerous -- acceleration of the head.

If there's danger, the sensors light up.

"There's a lot going on during a game," Betts said. "We have a lot of coaches and players and movement, but we can't see everything. What we can see is if the helmet lights up from the sidelines and that shows us if a child took an impact we didn't see."

The sensors weigh less than an ounce, are waterproof, and are inexpensive. Betts estimates it costs the program approximately $50 per player per season to lease them from the company.

As president of the program, Betts calls the sensors a no-brainer. As a parent of two youth players, he calls them priceless.

"It makes me feel more comfortable that there is an extra set of eyes out there," he said.

The Ravens are the first program in metro Detroit to make a sensor mandatory.

The Brain Injury Association of Michigan told Local 4 they applaud the Ravens for being proactive.

About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.