New Jersey’s Madison Jr. Football Sees Benefits from Using Smart Helmet Technology

The game of football is evolving, and the way coaches continually adapt is key to ensuring that athletes and their on-field protection are a priority for football programs. This is important to the fabric and future of the game so that kids can continue to have positive football experiences.

For many programs, prioritizing player protection can mean improving players’ blocking and tackling techniques, creating smarter practice plans, and adopting technologically advanced equipment.

Riddell’s InSite Training Tool, or ITT, is specifically designed to help coaches and athletic training staffs achieve these goals. Used by more than 1,000 college, high school, and youth programs across the U.S. and Canada, ITT has helped thousands of athletes improve how they play the game, and helped coaches improve how they teach.

ITT, football’s leading head impact monitoring system, provides a data-driven approach to proactively managing athletes. The tool collects and analyzes on-field head impacts, alerts sideline staff to atypical impact events, and includes an intuitive web-based platform that uses team impact data to build individualized player impact profiles. From there, ITT’s advanced practice planning function helps coaches identify and implement alternative training strategies based on the data.

The Madison Jr. Dodgers Varsity youth football team in Madison, NJ, has been using smart helmet technology for the past three seasons, outfitting all their athletes each season.

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InSite player units fit underneath the helmet’s interior liner to capture on-field impact data.

“InSite allows us to refine how we coach so we can take the head out of the game. With this data, we’re able to see where impacts occur throughout practices or games. Then, we check the film and practice plans to see how it occurred, so we can correct the behavior,” said Joe DeMarzo, Madison Jr.’s lineman coach. “It’s a cool aspect of our program that we can track each individual player’s impact data to see how they’re improving on the field, and how we’re improving as coaches.”

DeMarzo, who leads the smart helmet technology program for the team, also said the team uses ITT weekly, utilizing reports from both the team’s impact data and player impact profiles. ITT analyzes player data and compares it to national averages for similar players by position and age group, flagging any atypical impacts.

Madison Jr. staff said the benefits of ITT are not just important to them as coaches, but also to parents, who take solace in knowing that there is a set of eyes on the field.

“For me as a coach it provides extra knowledge, and there is a comfort level knowing that if a kid experiences a significant impact we can evaluate him,” said Scott Spelker, head coach of the Jr. Dodgers. He added that they use ITT to identify drills that correlate to higher levels of head impact, which allows them to adapt how they coach as the season progresses. 

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Madison Jr. Varsity players practicing in Riddell InSite-equipped helmets.

Since Madison Jr. purchased InSite, the program has seen an increase in enrollment each season. Many of the staffers credit ITT for the strong turnout and continued success in the program, so much so that the town’s local high school is exploring the technology.

“InSite is important to me because I want parents and kids to know that here at Madison Jr., we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we have the best protection available to our players,” said Tom Leck, long-standing President of Madison Jr. football.

“This is the future of football. It’s on us as coaches and administrators to take the necessary steps to ensure a strong future for the game and, more importantly, our players. This smart helmet technology has enabled us to do that for our program.”

Madison Jr. Varsity finished the 2018 season 6-2, just missing the league championship. But with a host of returning players and rosters expanding, thanks in part to InSite, Spelker and DeMarzo are looking forward to a strong 2019 campaign.

If you are interested in bringing InSite technology to your team you can contact your local Riddell Rep or visit our website.

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