Two years ago, a pilot program was conducted at Mater Dei Prep where a sensor was placed in several helmets to collect data on the level of contact sustained during select football games. This year a total of 25 starting football players from Mater Dei Prep will play the entire season with a sensor in their helmet to monitor contact and inform medical staff of potential risks for injury.
Dr. Vincent Vigorita, a professor of pathology and orthopedic surgery at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and chairman emeritus of the department of pathology at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, introduced the sensor to Mater Dei Prep due to his research and commitment for making all contact sports enjoyable, educational, and safe.
”I believe these sensors can significantly contribute to an evolving amount of quantifiable data that can be of definitive value to coaches and medical staff in identifying and predicting possible risks for head trauma. Contact sports provide important lessons for today’s youth and the opportunity to bring this developing technology to Mater Dei Prep is a meaningful step in setting up specific protocols to improving safety measures for student-athletes,” said Dr. Vigorita.
The sensors will be a useful addition for Mater Dei Prep in contributing to the safety of players being that 80% of brain related sports traumas go unidentified and undiagnosed. Coaches and medical staff at Mater Dei Prep recognize that over exposing athletes to head impacts at games and practices does not serve the best interests of the players. The choice to incorporate the sensor in helmets to measure head impacts was an obvious decision for Mater Dei Prep.
Dino Mangiero, Mater Dei Prep head football coach, has expressed his strong support for using the sensors given his extensive football experience as a player/coach over the last 40 years in the NFL, college, and high school.
“Here at Mater Dei Prep, the safety of our players is our primary concern. Using the sensor in helmets will certainly be valuable in gathering important information to assist in the protection and development of our players,” said Coach Mangiero.
Daniel DeShong, head athletic trainer at Mater Dei Prep, has been working closely with Dr. Vincent Vigorita on the implementation of this initiative designed to enhance the overall safety of the football program at Mater Dei Prep and other contact sports at the school in the near future.
“Assessing for head traumas and possible concussions is not always an easy process. The sensor will provide another valuable tool to capture important information and identify hits that could possibly expose a player to potential harm. We anticipate by using the sensors and studying the data that we will eventually be able to have real-time alerts on the sideline for impact related head traumas. In addition, we will be able to record and monitor the overall amount and severity of impacts incurred throughout the year in practices and games,” explained Daniel DeShong.
The goal of the helmet sensor initiative includes recognition of different available tools to help pinpoint student-athletes at risk for a head trauma. While the data and research on head traumas in contact sports continues to evolve, the value in adding this type of device to assist in maximizing the long-term potential and safety of student-athletes cannot be denied.
Don Galante, Mater Dei Prep President, knows this impactful initiative would not have been possible without the support of the Mater Dei Prep Board of Trustees. “I would like to thank Dr. Vigorita for his dedication and support of Mater Dei Prep. Dr. Vigorita’s renowned medical background and passion to make youth sports safer will greatly benefit our Seraph student-athletes. The helmet sensor initiative puts Mater Dei Prep on the cutting edge of technology and would have not been possible without Dr. Vigorita’s knowledge and expertise.”
For more information about the helmet sensor initiative to assess head impact in contact sports or about any of Mater Dei Prep’s other innovative programs, please call 732.671.9100 or visit materdeiprep.org.