Arizona Athletes Now Allowed to Wear Helmet Sensors

January 29, 2014

Matt Strasen/AP

Arizona coaches and trainers have a new tool to track player injuries. The Arizona Interscholastic Association will now allow athletes to put sensors in their helmets to measure the force of impact. The AIA had banned the devices because of a warning from helmet manufacturers that aftermarket sensors would void the warranty of the equipment. Executive Director Chuck Schmidt said the AIA initially banned the sensors because it did not have enough data.

“There wasn’t enough information at the time as to determine whether or not the AIA would allow those to go into play and so for the time being it was they are not going to be allowed per the rules,” said Schmidt. 

Schmidt said after evaluating how these products can help ensure the safety of the players, the board decided to reverse its decision. One of those manufacturers is Impakt Protective. It makes a helmet sensor called shockbox, which is attached to the inside of a football helmet with velcro to measure the force of an impact. Kevin Merrill of Impakt Protective said now that the ban is lifted, Arizona coaches and trainers will have a device to track the effect of on field hits.

“We are certainly going to be focusing now on back to the Arizona schools and we will be reaching out trying to get in front of the athletic directors, coaches as well as obviously booster clubs to try to get it in some of the Arizona schools," said Merrill. 

The change goes into effect immediately and the sensors can be used in lacrosse, hockey and winter sports helmets. The sensor is connected to a smartphone app that tracks and alerts coaches, parents or trainers when a player is hit with excessive force.

Updated 2/5/2014 at 10:59 a.m.