As Georgia Southern Football practice held its first full-contact practice Monday, August 5th, there were more than just Xs and Os discussed on the banks of “Beautiful Eagle Creek.” An initiative from Georgia Southern University President Brooks Keel after the National Institutes of Health awarded a grant to study concussions led to the installation of the Helmet Impact Telemetry System (HITS) technology to measure and record helmet impacts during practices and games. NBC Nightly News dispatched a broadcast crew to Statesboro to cover the story on the adoption of this technology as Georgia Southern is the only collegiate football program in the state of Georgia to use HITS. The feature is scheduled to air on Sunday, August 11th, at 6:30 p.m.Eastern time.
NBC Nightly News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez and producer Leo Juarez and their crew were on campus throughout the dayMonday, first filming practice and conducting interviews with Dr. Keel, Coach Jeff Monken and Eagles Matt Dobson, Zach Lonas and Devin Scott. Interviews with Tom Buckley, Ed.D., professor of Athletic Training, and Georgia Southern Athletics’ Director of Sports Medicine Brandy Clouse provided Gutierrez and Juarez with details on how HITS works with immediate notification to the athletics trainers.
Forty Riddell helmets will be equipped with the sensors and the HITS inserts wirelessly transmit information in real time to a laptop with monitoring software. More than 20 Eagles began wearing the inserts in their helmets when Georgia Southern’s preseason camp started August 1st to prepare for the first full-contact practice. The NBC Nightly News team filmed during the Eagles’ interaction periods and then spent time in the laboratory to learn more about the concussion research being conducted at Georgia Southern University.