FNF Coaches Talk — Technology at the HS level, reconditioning efforts

FNF Coaches Talk

Welcome back, Coaches. We’ve got a couple of stories for you.

1. Pro-level athlete tech is filtering down to your high school’s football team (Digital Trends)

We’re working on our Innovation and Tech issue of FNF Coaches, so this story is particularly pertinent.

Online video is one of many technological advances for football programs at the high school level as professional-level technology filters down into the high school and prep-level game. Wireless communication between coaches during games, mobile app-based workouts and the ability to reach every player instantly are now everyday parts of prep-level football.

More than 140,000 teams use Hudl’s big-league technology in practice and games, and the complexity of that technology keeps growing. One such product is Hudl Sidelines, which gives coaches on the sideline the ability to review a play immediately, with an iPad or streamed to HD televisions for players to see.

Researchers at Virginia Tech have been independently testing helmets for the past nine years and releasing their findings to the public. Many of the current models available for varsity football teams rate at the highest-possible five stars.

“Helmets will never eliminate concussions, but they are effective at reducing risk and which helmet you choose matters,” Steve Rowson, associate professor in Virginia Tech’s department of biomedical engineering and mechanics, told Digital Trends. “Today’s helmets compared to helmets 10 years ago provide a substantial reduction in concussion risk. If we look at the helmets available 10 years ago, differences in concussion risk by model varied by over 50 percent. The top-performing helmets of today perform much better than what was available.”


What new technology is your team using that has helped this offseason?

2. Amid COVID-19 delays, football helmet outfitters face production logjam that threatens start of prep, youth seasons (USA Today)

Normally, this time of year is a peak period of production for companies like Riddell, Xenith, Schutt and other smaller operations.

These companies repair, recondition and recertify nearly 2 million football helmets every offseason, according to the National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association, the organizing body that works to reduce the risk of injury for athletes by overseeing the standards and practices of companies that produce and recertify football, lacrosse, softball and baseball helmets and face guards.

If equipment facilities can’t get back up and running at nearly full force within the coming weeks, many high school, middle school and youth league football players might not have helmets needed to practice and play.

Each year, during the winter and spring, helmets are reconditioned and recertified to ensure optimal safety and then are sent back to the football programs in June and July. But equipment facilities now are bracing for production logjams and delays, which prompted the NAERA to warn National Federation of High School officials that football season start dates may need to be postponed.

“I think it might be smart to push the seasons’ starts back to September for high schools rather than August, like we see in a lot of cases,” NAERA executive director Tony Beam told USA TODAY Sports. “That would give everyone some more time. Because one thing is for certain: they definitely can’t play without helmets.”


What are your plans for reconditioning equipment this offseason?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk