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Company unveils football helmet with heat stroke protection

Hothead Technologies, an Atlanta-based technology company, is working with Schutt Sports to develop a commercially viable heat-sensing football helmet insert that can detect in real time a player’s impending heat stroke.

News of the joint development by the companies was announced last week at the American Football Coaches Association Annual Convention at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.

Developers at Hothead have spent years perfecting a dime-sized sensor that will be implanted in the forehead pad of new and refurbished football helmets supplied by Schutt beginning this fall. The sensor will track the temperature trends of players on the field and send that data to a PDA on the sidelines where it can be monitored in real time.

In the event a player’s temperature rises above normal, an audible alert is set off to warn a coach or certified athletic trainer that the player should be evaluated and cooled down.

While concussions and head injuries remain the most highly publicized injuries for football players, heat stroke and other heat-related problems are a very real threat to athletes and can be even more serious than other injuries.

“From the moment we began researching a way to prevent non-fatal and fatal injuries due to heatstroke, it has been our hope that the technology would find mass distribution through a relationship like this,” Hothead CEO Jay Buckalew told the coaches group. “Placement of the Heat Observation Technology System in Schutt helmets will have a significant impact on the lives of these athletes.”

According to USA Football, more than 21 million Americans — from pee wee to the NFL — will play football this year. Overheating, especially among programs in the South, is an area of longtime concern for coaches, parents, certified athletic trainers and administration. Until now, they have never been able to accurately monitor the true temperature of an athlete on the field.