Nightly News   |  August 11, 2013

School hopes to tackle head injuries with new helmets

More teams are using the new helmets that are designed to help prevent concussions. NBC's Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with what could be a game changer for safety on the football field . as preseason practice gets under way at schools and colleges across the country, as you know one of the biggest concerns is the risk of concussions. but this year more schools are turning to something new, a high tech helmet designed to minimum mieds that risk.

>> reporter: no question, football will always be a contact spors. but at georgia southern university , this season is different.

>> it's a game changer, really.

>> reporter: the university is first in the state to use the head impact telemetry or h.i. tirks system. it records every blow to the brain and it's transmitted to a laptop on the sideline. a pager alerts trainers when a hit exceeds a force of 98 gs.

>> it's probable the equivalent of a 20, 235 mile an hour car wreck.

>> reporter: but often sift lineman says he didn't realize when the pager went off for him.

>> everyone wants to go out there and give 100%.

>> reporter: a trainer checked and efbs okay but in the classroom data is being analyzed to better understand how to treat and prevent head initials.

>> it's going to help us coach better and have safer equipment.

>> reporter: it's been around for more than a decade. it's got more popular. at the high school and college level, about 20 schools are now using the system. universities like oklahoma, north carolina , and virginia tech . while the nfl hasn't signed on yet, research from the sensors played a role in the league's decision to move the kickoff line up to reduce cligtss.

>> i would like every team to have it because you need a lot of these things deployed to be able to collect the data necessary for the research.

>> reporter: but it comes with a cost. georgia southern pays $ 1500 per helmet.

>> if it will keep a kid safe, it's worth it.

>> reporter: with an estimated 1.6 million sport's related concussions each year, it's a problem this team wants to tackle head on.